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Year two with books: “According to Yes”

"According to Yes" by Dawn French The year is almost to end and there is one more book to read, which is achievable but only just. For now I would like to share my thoughts on the current book I just finished reading, "According to Yes" by Dawn French. As you know I love Dawn French writing style, however I found this book not as good as her previous ones. I mean it was ok and it was still enjoyable to read and there were few things that led me to dream a little ;-).

What I liked about it? Great writing style, I have so much to learn from it! I also liked the main character (a nanny who looked after 8 year old twins) how she was able to teach through creative way. I loved how she took kids on adventures to most boring places such as bank or court room and made it very engaging for them. She also involved them in gardening by creating one on the roof. All this made me dream about when Lukas and his little brother will be older and I maybe will be able to do all this cool stuff with them.

What I did not like about it? The moral of the story, I found it really confusing what the writer thought was the right thing to do and what is not. All I understood is that in her story everyone is a human and therefore make mistakes, which of course I agree with. I guess I found it a little drastic and shocking of how characters did not think of the consequences before acting. I felt like reading "50 Shades of Grey" although I can't quite compare to it as I never read that book in my life.

Is it worth buying? I would say this book isn't totally bad but I regret waisting my money on the hard cover."According to Yes" by Dawn FrenchHope you found this useful ;-)

Rasa xoxo

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Garlic rye bread and bean salad

Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe GARLIC RYE BREAD AND BEAN SALAD

Makes one medium serving bowl (I made half portion here)

  • 1 medium rye bread loaf
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
  • generous amount of oil for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 onions, finelly chopped
  • 2tsp caraway seeds, soaked in water
  • 2 cans of butter beans or cannellini beans, rinsed under cold water
  • bunch of parsley, finelly chopped (optional)

1. Slice the bread and then chop the slices into 1cm cubes.Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe2.Fry the bread together with garlic in generous amount of oil (very necessary, sorry for dieters). Season to taste and put it aside.Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe3. Fry the onion together with caraway seeds until onions are nice and slightly transparent. Add the beans and take the pan off the heat.  Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe4. Mix everything together.Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipe Rye garlic bread and bean salad recipeHope you don't miss this humble salad at your Christmas table ;-).

Rasa xx

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Christmas village display

Christmass village decoration I must admit, I was a bit scared of Christmas this year because of what is going on around us. House DIY, Lukas often ill (I've been told he is perfecting his immune system) and our new baby on the way have added a lot of pressures already, but also I could not quite think what gifts I should get for the family. The major additional pressure I find at Christmas is buying those gifts.  Since when did we lose the true meaning of Christmas? When did it get so materialistic? I dread every year of this gift giving madness when I am pushed to get gifts that somebody may not even like. I prefer spontaneous gifts that I put lots of thought in it (such as handmade ones perhaps), not something I got from the amazon to fulfil set occasions. Thankfully our family was very understanding and agreed to gives us a little break this year. My mother-in-law even said "that's a relief", bless her. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful mum in law! I was relieved myself as well of course and started looking forward to Christmas already. I took some time to make our home slightly Christmassy with this winter village display. Something to brighten up our otherwise dusty home :D.Christmass village decoration So here is how you could make your own Christmas village display. All you need is a card (can be a brown cardboard from packaging, but I had some white thick cardboard instead). Use the template below (or make your own) to draw the houses a couple inches above the bottom edge.  Christmass village decoration christmas-village-deco-1 christmas-village-deco-template2The next job is to cut out the houses as well as their windows. I used a craft knife and tried a swivel knife as well. The basic craft knife worked perfectly while swivel knife was actually swiveling in a way i couldn't predict which made me feel out of control. Has somebody had any luck with this type of knife? It supposed to be really good with curves! Anyhow, choose whichever tool suits you best. Although I do recommend using a metal ruler for long straight lines.Christmass village decoration To make the village houses stand apply a card support on the back. I made some card strips and applied it using double sided tape. Tip: lightly score the strip to help it fold easily. Christmass village decorationPlace your Christmas village on the fire place, shelf, or window sill at least 5 cm away from the wall (I used sellotape to secure it).Christmass village decoration Fill the backside of the Christmas village with fairy lights!Christmass village decorationNow it's time to make the "trees" (I vandalised the local park again this year...oops). I cut the branches into small segments and attached some blu-tack so I could stick them behind my village display.Christmass village decoration Christmass village decoration Christmass village decoration Christmass village decoration Christmass village decoration Christmass village decorationHappy Christmas waiting :)

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Baby friendly birthday cake

Baby friendly birthday cakeLast week we celebrated Lukas birthday and today I would like to share with you the recipe of the cake I made for him. I aimed for something sugar free of course that is suitable for a baby. I made sure to include banana in it just because Lukas loooovesss banana very much (maybe he is a minion who knows :D) and also because it adds some sweetness. The cake of course wasn't very sweet. I would say it was a brioche sweetness level. I also thought that it is better eaten warm, but I had to cool it down unfortunately to decorate it and make it look a little bit more festive ;-). For "butter cream" I just used whipping cream, so it wasn't sweet at all, but actually Lukas liked it very much so I guess it's ok ;-).  Baby friendly birthday cakeBABY BIRTHDAY CAKE

(for the cake)

  • 150g banana (about 1-2 bananas depending on size)
  • 1 egg
  • 60ml oil (I used refined olive oil, but rapeseed oil would probably be better)
  • 330g plain flour
  • 27g oats (I used pack of portioned porridge oats that actually comes in 27g)
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 125ml milk
  • 3tbsp yogurt (I used greek style yogurt, but natural yogurt would work fine too)

(for decorations)

  • whipping cream, whipped till stiff (one tube of 300ml will do)
  • no added sugar chocolate (there is no such thing as sugar free chocolate my friends!)
  • blueberries (or any type of other berries that are sweet)

1. Whizz bananas, egg and oil in the food processor. Add all other ingredients and mix everything to combine.

2. Spoon the cake dough into small lined spring form tins (mine filled 4 tins).

3. Place the tins into preheated 180C oven and bake the cakes for 20min or so.

Baby friendly birthday cake4. Meanwhile I made chocolate cake decorations. I must admit I got little rusty, because I have not done it for aaaaages! I melted some chocolate, poured into pouch I made out of backing paper and cut the hole in it so I could pipe the chocolate out. I lined a metal baking tin with backing paper and piped chocolate on it in the leaf shapes. Placed it in the freezer for few minutes to set. Done!Baby friendly birthday cake5. Next up is decorating! Sandwich the cake by spreading whipped cream in between and then spread more on top and around to ice the cake. My tip is to really wait till the cakes are cool and trim the tops off, that really helps to make the cake square and therefore easy to ice.Baby friendly birthday cakeOnce the cake is iced, decorate it by piping some more whipped cream on top, sprinkling with blueberries and arranging some chocolate decorations on top if you wish.Baby friendly birthday cakeBaby friendly birthday cakeHope your baby likes it too ;-)

Rasa xx

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Photography challenge: birthday cake “smash”

This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake I don't know if you heard of a term "cake smash" (I am sure if you google it it would give you plenty of examples), but I wanted to try it on Lukas real bad! I thought it would be sooooo much fun for both of us, because I believe Lukas enjoys making mess :D.This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake So Lukas birthday comes up (I can't believe he is now 1 year old!) and I finally come up with a plan of how its going to work. I found a few baby friendly recipes to combine (sugar free of course!) for the cake, which I was very pleased with in the end. I worked out where we were going to do this messy act (in the sitting room on the floor covered with the blanket). I chose an outfit (very important!), although I did not put too much thought in to that as it just had to be something simple. I also read a few tips on how to do such a photo shoot, they all suggested make it relaxing (not rushed) and make sure the baby is in good mood (fed and napped). This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake The result? Not quite what I expected! I failed on napping Lukas well that day, so I had to bake and decorate the cake while he was awake. I was rushed and definitely not relaxed. I finished the cake very late and was worried about the lighting (oh those early autumn evenings!). As I have mentioned in other photography post in the past, when there is poor light you need to compromise with a slower shutter speed which means I had to hold camera steady to avoid blur. But try telling a one year old to stay still, so I ended up with many blurry pics (which is ok I guess as it captures the movement). On top of everything Lukas did not destroy the cake, but picked out the decorations and sampled them. If you are interested, here is a video that Joni took during photoshoot.This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cakeSo my advice if you want to take cake smash photos is to first relax, and pick a day that is completely activity free. Pre-make the cake perhaps? Take picture after babies first nap or something. And most importantly, enjoy!

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Haddock Monte Carlo

Haddock Monte CarloFew weeks ago we went to Center Parcs for a weekend away and while there I had this wonderful breakfast called Haddock Monte Carlo. When at home I researched about this a little and it turns out its not a breakfast item! I still think it is better suited for breakfast however... you see, you kind of need to eat this as soon as it is cooked and this is not what we do for dinner. At least not in our family! But then again it depends how it works best for you. I like making slow cooker meals for dinner when I can just dish out the food when we are ready and for Saturday special breakfast I like to make something quickish that we eat as soon as it is ready. All I am saying that Haddock Monte Carlo is hard to time but in return it is quick to make!

Another thing I found is that Haddock Monte Carlo comes in different versions, some seem very complicated and needs a some prep the night before! I of course chose a recipe that I thought was the closest to what I ate on our holiday in Center Parcs. And it did turn out pretty much the same, except the recipe that I used was a difficult to understand. Thankfully, after making this dish I can tell how I made it so hopefully you have an easer time with it ;-).

HADDOCK MONTE CARLO adopted from Big Oven

Makes 3-4 portions

  • 600g pealed potatoes (about 3 regular size potatoes)
  • 2tsp wholegrain mustard
  • handful of chives, chopped
  • 300ml double cream
  • 50g butter (about 2 heaped tbsp)
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3-4 smoked hadock fillets, undyed
  • 250ml fish stock
  • 250ml white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 2 tomatoes, skinned and chopped

1. First things first, put the potatoes to boil. This takes the longest to do!

2. Once the potatoes are cooked, mash them and add mustard, chives (reserving some for later) and have of double cream. Mix again to make into creamy mash.Haddock Monte Carlo3. Next up is haddock with sauce! Melt the butter in the frying pan and fry the shallots till golden. Fry the haddock fillets in the same pan on both sides for few seconds then add fish stock and wine. Cover and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the leftover cream and remove the pan from the heat. Season to taste.Haddock Monte Carlo4. Meanwhile pouch the eggs. My tip is to do in in the shallow pan (like frying pan) and with a bit of vinegar added to the boiled but not boiling water.Haddock Monte Carlo5. Put the mashed potato mixture in the centre of a plate and place the haddock on top. Put the poached egg on top of the fish and spoon the sauce over. Garnish with chopped chives and tomatoes. Haddock Monte CarloEnjoy!

Rasa xo

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Photography challenge: white balance in pregnancy announcement photos :)

importance of white balance I have been wanting to announce our news for quite a while now but we have had few challenging weeks which is why I did not find any good time to sit down and blog (and I must admit I am not the most creative on making such announcements anyways). So the announcement is....Lukas is going to have a brother!!!! :). Yey! And he is due in February, so kind of very very soon!

After our holiday in Center Parcs we were ill, started bathroom renovations, Lukas got sick while we were stuck with only one sink in the house and no bath tub. Thankfully things got better and I also found some time to perfect my photography skills! There was definitely a breakthrough when I learned about the white balance, because I had so many frustrations in the past when the camera just selects the temperature of the pic automatically. I spend hours (if not weeks if you put all the time together that I wasted) correcting the colouring of pics on Photoshop, when I could be taking perfect pictures on my camera!

So, what is this fuss about the white balance in photography? White balance is essentially a colour balance in the picture. You see, light has colour (or a temperature if you prefer) and anything to do with light transfers into pictures as well. Have you ever noticed some pictures come out blueish/greyish and some yellowish/reddish? You can often notice if the pic was taken in cloudy morning or sunny afternoon. Of course that can be corrected (thank goodness!!!) and often camera does in automatically. However it does not come out correctly all the time (you will see here). Sometimes its good to know you can change the settings.

I found my white balance settings are right there under one button (so that is quite convenient). You can select exact number for the temperature but I just decided to try out preset options. These include daylight, shade, cloudy, Tungsten light (good for indoor lighting) and different Fluorescent lights. I decided to try them all out on one sunny day in the shade.

The picture above and bellow have been taken with auto WB mode. Pretty good, right? I have not edited them or used any filter.importance of white balanceIn the picture bellow I have used shade mode. It looks much warmer then the auto mode which I prefer.importance of white balanceFrom all the pictures I have taken I think auto mode looked most similar to cloudy mode. Interesting!importance of white balanceHere I tried different scenario, I was taking some pics of Lukas in auto mode.importance of white balance And here is in shade mode (pic bellow) that I thought is too yellow.importance of white balance I think camera did a good job selecting the colour balance that is close to the pic bellow that have been taken in daylight mode. importance of white balance And here is for fun. I have taken a pic in Tungsten light mode. Its amazing how much blue you need to balance out an indoor lighting!importance of white balance To check it out how would Tungsten light mode work I took few pics indoors in the evening with our room lighting. I usually avoid doing this because you get a very yellowy look. I took this first pic in auto mode.importance of white balance And here it is with Tungsten light mode. Not bad! Maybe I should start taking pictures in the evenings to save time (only joking!).importance of white balanceHope you found this inspiring!

Rasa xx

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Pinterest challenge: easy baked Gnocchi with mozzarella and tomatoes

Easy baked Gnocchi with mozzarella and tomatoesI will be honest, it's not our favourite meal I ever made but it is sure easy! I found it too tomatoey and Joni thought it was too plain (maybe bacon would sort it out!). But if you are fan of something basic and loaded with mozzarella cheese I think this dish might be for you ;-).

EASY BAKED GNOCCHI WITH TOMATOES AND MOZZARELLA adopted from Floating Kitchen

  • 500g gnocchi
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 300 cherry tomatoes (about one pack)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • handfull chopped basil
  • handfull chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • 250g mozzarella cheese (about one pack)

1. First prep the sauce (while gnocchi is cooking away of course). heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the sliced shallots and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, Herbs de Provence, cherry tomatoes, can chopped tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat. Stir in the fresh herbs, cream and the cooked gnocchi.Easy baked Gnocchi with mozzarella and tomatoes 2. Transfer about half of the gnocchi/tomato mixture to the baking dish. Top with about half of the torn mozzarella cheese. Then add the remaining gnocchi/tomato mixture and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Place the dish to 200C pre-heated oven and cook for 10 minutes. For the light crust place the dish under the grill for further 1-2 minutes.Easy baked Gnocchi with mozzarella and tomatoes3.Top with additional fresh herbs if desired and serve.Easy baked Gnocchi with mozzarella and tomatoes Easy baked Gnocchi with mozzarella and tomatoesHope you like it ;-)

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BBQ Lithuanian style

BBQ Lithuanian style I know I know, bbq season is almost over, but I could not help but share my favourite recipe of the year! I was so addicted to bbq this year that I probably made this at least five times I think. The recipe is adopted from my dad who made it while I was in Lithuania this year (and many times before when I was little). Its fairly easy to prep, just need to think of it the day before because it needs to marinate overnight. It's pork unlike the other "shashlik" dishes in Middle East, but thats what makes it Lithuanian even though the name suggest otherwise. I love its freshness and the smell after marinating it overnight, it's a must try!

ŠAŠLYKAI (SHASHLIK LITHUANIAN WAY) feeds at least 5

  • 1.5kg pork, chopped into chunks for skewers (I used pork shoulder steaks)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, finelly chopped
  • 2-3 chilli peppers, finelly chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • salt and pepper to taste (be generous here)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl, mix it well and cover it with plate so it is well compressed. Refrigerate the meat overnight. BBQ Lithuanian style2. The following day (can be even in the evening if you like), put the meat onto the skewers and you are ready to bbq.  BBQ Lithuanian style BBQ Lithuanian style 3. Serve it with plain rice, green salad and good quality ketchup (it really makes all the difference). BBQ Lithuanian styleI hope you will find the time while the weather is still warm and enjoy it as much as I did ;-).

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Year two with books: “A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian”

My thoughts on book "A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian" I have read this book a month ago but did not find the time to write about it. Where did all the time go?! We were busy DIYing and Lukas was ill for a while. Hopefully back to track now!

Ok, here is what I thought about a book, it was as amazing as the other book Marina Lewicka wrote. Maybe "Two Caravans" were slightly better, but only slightly! I really enjoyed reading it while Joni was drinking cider from Normandy which added more senses into the story. There was lots of apples involved, because the main character liked picking apples, storing them and cooking them. So you can imagine me smelling the cider, which smelled like fermented apples made me feel like I am in the story as well :D.

What I liked about it? Everything of course! like "Two Caravans" there was a strong Eastern Europe culture feel to it, although this time it is mostly focused on Ukrainian culture. The writing style is quite different as well compare to the other book of same author. This time story is told by younger sister Nadia who tries to understand this highly hilarious and a little sad story from few different angles. And if you know me, I looove analysing conflicts from different angles (as long as I am not in it of course) :D.

What I did not like about it? Nothing in particular, I think it was a really good novel with lots of drama in it! Ok maybe the only thing I found boring is the actual History of Tractors that the main character wrote, but I guess that was essential setting for the background and besides it goes along with the title of the book!

Is it worth buying? I think if you can understand Eastern Europe culture and be able to see positive as well as negative (seeing good in person even if that person seem complete evil) than give a try! I personally don't regret in buying the book :).My thoughts on book "A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian"Next up is "According To Yes" by Dawn French. I expect this is going to be reeeaaaaaly good!

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How to holiday with a baby (what I have learned so far)

How to holiday with the baby (what I have learned so far) If you are following me on Instagram/Facebook then you probably know that I have struggled with the holidays and a baby combination. I just did not find it relaxing and I was missing the holidays I used to have. But the reality is that this is how my life is going to be for good few years so I decided to find a new ways to find a new relaxing. My first stop was to ask my friends who had experience with it. Here is what came up and how did I apply on our second holidays in France. How to holiday with the baby (what I have learned so far) Lower your expectations, first thing I heard from one friend which I must admit made me a bit sad as it sounded a bit negative. However having high expectations is what made me feel disappointed with my first holidays, so this advice totally makes sense! So when we went to France I decided to enjoy as it comes and it really helped for me to relax (not completely but definitely more relaxing). For example, we used Lukas naps for driving to different locations, that way we did not need to wait around for his naps to finish and we could explore different locations in France.

Babysit in turns, was the next advice from another friend. Joni looking after Lukas while I go and do something I enjoy sounds good! Except we preferred walking and enjoying the sights together, so babysitting in turns did not work all the time. Except once when Joni wanted to go on the tour in Fort National (obviously not my cup of tea). He took Lukas with him while I enjoyed the sun on the rocks (much better and more relaxing than it sounds!).  How to holiday with the baby (what I have learned so far) Eat out for lunch and eat in for dinner, because apparently that's cheaper. Well... it turned out to be true! There are plenty of affordable and good meals available for lunch and in rural Normandy where we stayed there were less restaurants open in the evening and everything is more expensive. However I found that's not the only reason why this advice was a life saver!  Because our habit is to put Lukas to bed around 7pm, it just works much better if we eat in while he is asleep which I really enjoyed (especially eating al fresco!).

I did however found that French like to take their kids to dinner which can sometimes be very late in the evening. But in return they put their kids to nap in the early afternoon. Well that is good alternative to keep in mind!How to holiday with the baby (what I have learned so far) After Lithuanian holiday I could also add another advice.

Pack for everything, if you don't have luggage restrictions of course! After Lukas sleep was disrupted by the very light bedrooms in Lithuania, I invested in travel blinds. I have not yet had a chance to use it, because in France the window shutters were unbeatable, but I still think it is worth every penny and I am sure it will come in useful. Every time I pack I carefully think through what I need to make Lukas feel at home as much as possible. Because I just love his routine and would love to keep it as it is during the holiday as well.

We will be off to Centre Parcs next, which I never thought of visiting before. Suddenly it sounds like a much more apealing destination when you have a baby with you. Will let you know how that goes!How to holiday with the baby (what I have learned so far)I hope you found this helpful xx

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Breakfast crepe

Breakfast crepeWhen in France we enjoyed the crepes a lot. They even have cafes called Creperie! Although they are more like a chain of cafeterias rather then a cafe dedicated to crepes. I of course wanted to recreate the experience one morning of eating my favourite crepe for breakfast. This is when I accidentally woke up earlier than Lukas (which does not happen very often unfortunately). I did not use 100% buckwheat flour like they would in France, but I thought 50/50 will do so I don't pull all my hair out while making it. The results are here as follow ;-). Breakfast crepe BREAKFAST CREPE WITH HAM AND EGG makes 4 crepes

  • 50g buckwheat flour
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp oil + more for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 200ml milk or water

1. I start with making the batter first. Place the flour into the bowl together with eggs, oil, salt and pepper. Whisk everything together into the dry mass. While whisking begin pouring the water (or milk) gradually into the flour mass (not all in one go because you might not need it all). You are aiming for a batter consistency that easily drips down the whisk when held up but still leave temporary traces when whisked.Breakfast crepe Breakfast crepe2.You need to fry crepes in well heated pan with oil. Pour one spoonful to the pan and immediately start swirling round the pan to get nice even layer. I flipped my crepe to fry the other side, but this is completely unnecessary. Once the top is dry to touch you can add some ham and eggs on top and carry on frying just a little longer. Breakfast crepe3. When the egg is done you can fold the edges and serve it warm.Breakfast crepeEnjoy

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Photography challenge: learning new things on holiday in France

View from the lace where we stayed in BuaisLast week we went on our second holiday to France which was much more relaxing than the first one! While we were there I decided to take up another photography challenge. Except I could not think of what I should learn this time in specific, so I thought lets just go with the flow and see what happens. The result? I did learn something that will tell you later later (I am quite excited about it!). For now I would like to talk how I kept my photography challenge as relaxed as possible. We were on holiday after all!

The pictures bellow have been taken around the place where we stayed close to Buais.View from the lace where we stayed in BuaisView from the lace where we stayed in BuaisView from the lace where we stayed in BuaisView from the lace where we stayed in BuaisMy toolsUse any photography tool available, whats wrong with taking pictures on the phone? On our first few trips in France I actually forgot to either charge my camera or left it in the house by accident. My phone was a saviour, I was still able to capture all the moments and the quality does not seem too bad to compare with my DSLR. Ok, you have more freedom with the photo camera but I did survive taking pictures with the my IPhone for quite few years before I got a "real"camera. Can you spot the pictures here that I took with the phone? View from the lace where we stayed in BuaisOur visit to Port de CancaleOn the first day we have visited Port de Cancale. Local caught mussels in wine and chips were fab (even Lukas loved it)! Our visit to Port de CancaleOur visit to Port de CancaleOur visit to Port de CancaleOur visit to Port de CancaleOur visit to Port de CancaleOur visit to Port de CancaleRennes was our next stop. Although we went there only for an attic clear out sale (similar to boot sale here in UK) I really loved the city and its architecture.Our visit to RennesOur visit to Rennes

It's ok to use an Auto mode! I have been using this setting for years and only now started looking at other settings. To be honest, its good to know the other tricks with lighting and focus, but when you taking pictures of quick moments I think there is not enough time to fiddle with the settings. After all often good pics happen with good composition!  Our visit to RennesOur visit to St MaloSt Milo was Joni's place (maybe because of all the forts and castles).Our visit to St MaloOur visit to St MaloOur visit to St MaloOur visit to St MaloOur visit to St MaloOur visit to St MaloOur visit to St MaloFort National, accessed when the tide is low! Our visit to St MaloOur visit to St MaloOur visit to St MaloOur visit to St MaloOur visit to St MaloOur visit to St Malo

So what did I learn from my holiday challenge? Is how to take photos in Golden Hour! I read about it somewhere long time ago and it sunk into my brain I guess. So when I woke one morning very early and saw a golden glow of the sun everywhere I could not resist but take pics all around me. No wonder its also called magic hour! You just need to catch the right time either in the morning or evening (found good timeline here) and take the shots outside ;-). What I also liked is including sun glare in my composition, it made my photos extra magical!golden hour photographygolden hour photographygolden hour photographyHope you are inspired!

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My very-easy-peasy pesto salmon pouches

My easy-peasy pesto salmon pouches I have been making this for quite a while and it has been our family favourite as it is full of flavour and very easy to make. It does not need added salt so its suitable for babies as well. Although we adults eat it with hollandaise sauce which does contain salt, but its completely fine eating it without. Ready to try? Recipe is bellow ;-).

PESTO SALMON POUCHES makes 4 servings

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • a bag of baby spinach
  • pesto
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • hollandaise sauce (optional)

My easy-peasy pesto salmon pouches1. Steam spinach till it starts to wilt, about 2 min.

2. Split spinach into four and place it on separate foil squares (about 20cmX20cm), top it with salmon fillet, pesto and cherry tomatoes.

3. Wrap the salmon to close. Bake the pouches in 200C preheated oven for 25min. My easy-peasy pesto salmon pouchesEnjoy!

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Photography challenge: learning about ISO while in the greenhouse

I have been very busy past month (not only with holidays) but also with Lukas. I only get two hour break a day (I guess I am lucky I hear) so thats all I have mostly for tidying up, getting things organised and little bit for gardening and blogging. So this is why I decided to combine gardening with learning what my camera can do. It was tough two hours ;-).

So we got little green house this year (very tiny, one of those plasticy temporary ones) and I am growing cucumbers and tomato plants in it. I must admit I broke every gardening rule there is, planting plants too close and very late in the season. But I hope I wont get penalised for it and still will get some sort of harvest. As you can see in the pic above it looks very messy and random. This is what my goal was to fix this problem during my two hour slot.

As I was repotting the tomatoes I decided to experiment ISO that sets a sensitivity for a light. The higher the number setting is the more sensitive the camera is to the light. I have learned the other settings that work with the light too like aperture (with f stops ha ha) and shutter speed. But this one is mostly used to set the light, the side effect of it is picture being grainy. I took couple of shots of the tomato plant with different ISO settings but had no luck. I realised that auto camera mode was interfering trying to compensate the light by changing shutter spend (hence blurry pic from my hand shaking)That wasn't the only problem with this photography challenge. For some reason I could not set the camera to a high ISO. I could see it there (from 500 to 1000) but somehow could not select it. So I could only experiment with up to 400 ISO.I set the the shutter speed to 1/20 which allowed me to experiment with ISO and see the results of it. The picture bellow is taken with 200 ISO.This picture is slightly lighter as it has been taken with 320 ISO.The final picture has been taken with 400 ISO. Can you see how light can be edited just by using different ISO settings?By the end of my two hour break I remodelled the green house. Yes, its still not perfect, but I think it will do for now. I hope there will be some sort of fruit coming out soon ;-). I hope you found it useful :-)

Rasa xoxo

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