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Watercolour challenge: repeating patterns

Repeating patterns with watercolour This month I am doing something very exciting for my watercolour challenge. Yes, it’s patterns, my favourite art form! However it would be not very challenging if I did something I am good at already?! This is why I decided to perfect my skill of repeating patterns with some new methods.

When I used to create repeating patterns before it was mostly by drawing/painting/arranging different items/details in repeating order. But as you may all know this is not an accurate way to create repeating patterns. The objects I draw can differ in size as it is literally impossible to exactly replicate the same item/detail every time.

Alternatively I used to take a square of the drawing or paining and repeat it on the photoshop (or any other editing software), but this created very boring, common patterns. I always wondered how do you make repeating patterns that are seamless.

I was little inspired by this YouTube and other few videos on how to create drawn repeating patterns. This method is all about cutting a square shaped picture into four blocks and then swapping them around so the edges of the picture end up at the centre so you can draw on the seams to make it look like that those seams were never there (you really need to watch that video to really understand it). However, this method would not work with watercolour. As you can imagine, watercolour would probably leak at the cut edges.

This is when I came up with the idea to create repeating pattern using a grid. Although this is not a perfect way to create a repeating pattern, I realise the grid gives a good guideline. I started this by painting 7 different design blocks that flows into each other(tesselates) and creates a reasonably repeating pattern.    Repeating patterns with watercolour  This could then be coped and pasted on any editing software.Repeating patterns with watercolour Pattern seem to be more accurate when created on the computer, however it still has that hand painted look because of its origins.Repeating patterns with watercolour I created another pattern in a similar way, except this time round I painted enough of those 7 blocks in a row that created one huge block which was repeating itself naturally. This way all I needed to do is copy and paste this block few times.Repeating patterns with watercolour Repeating patterns with watercolour  Next I wanted to break away from the grid without actually leaving it. I painted leaves in repeating order. The grid allowed me to keep the leaves in similar shape and line. So when I repeated it on a computer this pattern repeated itself flawlessly. Repeating patterns with watercolour I tried the same technique on another design and this time round I realised the problem of the grid itself. The grid would not erase after it has been painted over. And with the light colour you can see the grid very clearly. I had to use the clone tool to hide those annoying lines that was never meant to be part of the pattern.Repeating patterns with watercolour After repeating the pattern the same way as the others I realised it does not match very easily with plain painted areas (it’s very difficult to get the same shade of colour every time). This also had to be corrected with the clone tool.Repeating patterns with watercolour Repeating patterns with watercolour  Finally instead of a grid I used a dot system. It guides you like a grid, but its not as visible in case you can’t erase it. Repeating patterns with watercolour As you can see, this creates almost perfect repeating patterns ;-).Repeating patterns with watercolourHope you are inspired

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Green tomato ketchup

Green tomato ketchup recipeLast week we said goodbye to our green house. It was quite emotional for me as I really fell in love with it! Although the journey of building it and general gardening jobs delayed our house renovation (kitchen in particular) I feel having green house has given us irreplaceable experience. I loved getting fresh tomatoes everyday for my toast and salads, even if it was for only few months. I have learned a lot too! I will be applying my new learned knowledge next year when I grow tomatoes again :).Green tomato ketchup recipeBut what to do with all those green tomato that missed their chance to catch some sun? Few years ago we made some green tomato chutney. This year however I decided to go with green tomato ketchup only because we use ketchup more often (I bet you do too!). Green tomato ketchup taste a little fresher to compare to regular ketchup but is equally delicious with chips!Green tomato ketchup recipe Green tomato ketchup recipe This recipe can be halved or doubled depending on your green tomato harvest. So weigh your tomatoes before deciding how much ketchup to make.

GREEN TOMATO KETCHUP

  • 2 kg tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 2 thumb fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • salt and pepper
  • 700ml water
  • 2 tsp tabasco sauce (more if you like spicy)
  • 150ml apple cider vinegar
  • 200g brown sugar (I used dark brown which made the ketchup look darker)

1. wash, weigh, chop the tomatoes and set aside.Green tomato ketchup recipe2. Place onions and celery  in a large saucepan with a generous amount of olive oil, ginger, garlic, ground coriander and mixed spice. Season with the pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook gently till softened.Green tomato ketchup recipe 3. Add the tomatoes, water and bring to the boil and simmer gently until the sauce reduces by half (around 3 h for 2kg tomatoes).

4. Whiz the sauce in a food processor or with a hand blender. Add the vinegar and the sugar. Place the sauce on the heat and simmer until it reduces and thickens to the consistency of tomato ketchup. At this point, adjust the seasoning to taste.

5. Spoon the jam into the ready sterilised jars or glass bottles.Green tomato ketchup recipe Green tomato ketchup recipeShould at least try making it for those chips ;-)

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Kitchen organisation ideas: jars

Kitchen organisation ideas: jarsOur kitchen completion is so so close that I can almost taste it! It’s those small little details that takes forever to finish, I don’t know why is it often like that. In order for us to move into our new kitchen (we are lucky to have an old kitchen in other part of the house), we still need to fill some gaps, touch paint, silicone and fit the shelves.

I am so excited about the shelves though! I love the open display plan. I already started preparing storage solutions that looks good and is a decoration itself. You guessed it right, jars are going to be my focus!

Jar storage solution is not a new invention, it’s just got really trendy in recent years. You can buy mason jars easily anywhere, however I don’t believe you need them to achieve the look. Although I do own few mason type of jars, majority of my jars comes from recycling. That’s right! I use a lot of jars that had were storing pickles in their past life. I think reusing these type of jars is so much better than recycling itself. It’s better for your pocket too!Kitchen organisation ideas: jarsTo begin with I started sorting out our grains, sugar, flour, seeds etc etc. I looked through lots of loose bags and I was little surprised to find some stuff that I did not even know I had (like quinoa). I stored these into right size jars according to the amounts, the use and the size I tend to buy them in the shop. For example, I hardly ever eat quinoa (don’t really like the taste of it) so it ended up in the tiniest jar the whole lot could fit. It’s different with the brown sugar and although I had a tiny amount of it left I stored it in a lager jar.Kitchen organisation ideas: jarsAs for labels I decided to go paperless. I got inspired by these and since my handwriting improved I thought I will give a go. I used basic black permanent pens instead of oil based paint pens. I experimented on the paper before going ahead and scribbling on the jar.Kitchen organisation ideas: jars Although the pens are permanent, it can be easily wiped out with some acetone or other type of solvent.Kitchen organisation ideas: jarsKitchen organisation ideas: jarsHope you like my jar organisation idea and get to adopt it at your home.

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End-of-season tomato jam

End-of-season tomato jam recipeTurns out our tomato harvest was little late when I thought it was barely there at all. When all of the sudden tomatoes started turning red and yellow in one go I actually panicked as I could not keep up with it even when I was eating them everyday (this is certainly a good problem to have). However their season is coming to the end and I will be soon harvesting green tomatoes to make something special for winter.

So far I have been freezing red, cherry and sunrise tomatoes into the 400g bags for next time I need chopped tomatoes in the recipe. I also reserved some for tomato jam that I wanted to try out making for a while. I love something sweet in my savoury dishes! If you feel the same then here it is, carry on reading for the recipe.End-of-season tomato jam recipe End-of-season tomato jam recipeEND-OF SEASON TOMATO JAM adapted from Healthy Delicious

  • 1kg ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 280g soft brown sugar
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • pinch ground ginger

End-of-season tomato jam recipe 1. Whizz tomatoes in the blender till smooth like a pure.End-of-season tomato jam recipe2. Transfer the tomato puree together with the rest of the ingredients into the medium sized pot.End-of-season tomato jam recipe 3. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and jammy – this will take about an hour.End-of-season tomato jam recipe4. Spoon the jam into the ready sterilised jars.End-of-season tomato jam recipeEnd-of-season tomato jam recipe End-of-season tomato jam recipeEnjoy it anywhere you like. I am sure you will find many uses for this jam! I love mine in the cheese toasty ;-).

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Watercolour challenge: brush lettering

Watercolour brush letteringLast month I was reviewing my yearly goals and I realised that I was nowhere close to learning calligraphy. This is when I decided that I needed to focus on hand lettering, hence watercolour brush lettering! I also used bible verses for this project so that way I could meditate on the word as well as learning new skill.

I started with the basic handwriting style that I once learned from my friend Vicki. It was the type of handwriting style that you learn in old school where you draw all of your letters connected and within the lines (remember?). Except this hand lettering style does not require lines. It flows out freestyle!

I soon got bored with that writing style and was ready to add more character to my hand lettering.

This is when I came across brush lettering. Brush lettering is a style of writing similar to calligraphy, but done with brush pens. When doing brush lettering the key thing to remember is the pen pressure and the stroke thickness:

  • Heavy pressure is applied in a downward motion to create thick stroke
  • Light pressure is applied in an upward motion to create thin stroke

Watercolour brush lettering Although I was painting letters with an actual brush, it was not easy to control the strokes. At some places I needed to thicken the lines manually instead of applying pressure as I paint.Watercolour brush lettering Initially I tried a round brush but then switched to a flat shaped brush that made neat thick lines. However I found it difficult to paint thin lines with it. The only way to paint thin lines with this brush was to paint sideways. I quickly ditched that and went back to a round shaped brush.Watercolour brush lettering Watercolour brush lettering With the round brush back in hand I soon got got the hang of brush lettering. You know what they say, practice makes perfect ;-). I experimented with different types of font such as printed, joined or separated hand lettering. I even tried to format my hand writing. I drew lines with the pencil to mark the guidelines. Watercolour brush lettering Once I learned to format the lettering I had a go with the bounce hand writing font. This was so so much fun. Bounce hand lettering is all about drawing letters outside their guidelines: one letter down, the second letter up and third letter down again (I hope you get the point). Essentially the letters bounce ;-)Watercolour brush lettering Watercolour brush letteringI loved loved loved learning watercolour calligraphy, hope you will too ;-)

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Herb infused jams

Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipeI know I know you might think that I am obsessed with blackberries (which is true). But how can you resist when these berries are so plump and lush right now? We just loooove picking them as we go for a walk!

Last year when I was cooking through Little Paris Kitchen book I found this recipe for the cherry compote. Not just any cherry compote, it was infused with basil and tasted amaaaaazing! This is why when I was thinking to make blackberry jam I decided to take similar approach and matched it with rosemary. It was as flavoursome as that compote I made last year ;-).

So if you are jamming this autumn, I really recommend trying out and adding herbs to your preserves. Sugar really bring out the flavour of it I think. Here are few suggestions if you like:

  • cherry and basil
  • blueberry and mint
  • raspberry and cardamom
  • apricots and lavender
  • strawberry and lemon thyme

These are just few examples, but you can experiment with any herbs. Here is blackberry and rosemary for starters ;-).Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe BLACKBERRY AND ROSEMARY JAM

makes 2 jars

  • 1kg blackberries
  • 300g sugar (we used icing sugar as it dissolves quicker, but any other sugar will do)
  • bunch of rosemary

Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe 1. Place all the ingredients in a pot and simmer uncovered for 30 min or so.Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe 2. Stir occasionally while cooking to help dissolve the sugar.Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe 3. Remove the rosemary stalks (as much as you can) before spooning it into ready sterilised jars.Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipeI enjoy it mostly with toast but there are plenty of other uses as well.

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Bake-with-kids yogurt cake

Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipeEver since reading Bringing up bebe and French kids eat everything I got the notion that the kids and I could bake things one day. Maybe even experiment with different flavours and help them grow to love food. This sounded like a fairy tale when we were going through terrible-twos and all Lukas would eat was pasta or toast. Thankfully this was just a phase! Things are changing dramatically as we speak. So hang in there if you are struggling with the toddler fussiness, it will all pass ;-).

I mean Lukas still don’t eat salad, but he will occasionally ask me if he could taste something from my plate (such as beetroot or even smoked salmon). And you know I like my food colourful and flavoursome. I really hope that one day this passion will pass onto him.

So when we went blackberry picking last week I thought why not introduce him to baking. Lukas, like any other kids likes cakes and baking goes nicely with blackberry. I suddenly thought I could try the yogurt cake that I read french kids like to make. Blackberries on top does make it lovely!Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe This recipe uses yogurt containers (150ml) as a measuring device. A bit simpler to understand for little helpers.

BAKE-WITH-KIDS YOGURT CAKE

  • 2 x containers (300g) natural yogurt (full fat preferably)
  • 2 x eggs
  • 2 x containers sugar (270g) (although I preferred adding just one)
  • 4.5 x containers  plain flour (360g) (we used almond flour for gluten free version)
  • 1 x container (120g) vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • berries or chocolate chips for the filling (optional but nice!)
  • extra yogurt or creme fraiche for serving (optional)

Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe 1. Measure all ingredients into the bowl. It is very important to clean and dry the containers after emptying them as I find that other ingredients stick to any lingering yogurt and therefore don’t come out fully when measuring. The first time we baked this cake it came out too gooey due to not enough of flour as you could imagine. When making it a second time I realised it was due to wrong amounts.

2. Mix mix mix! Lukas favourite part ;-).Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe3. Spoon out the cake mixture into the baking tin. I like using silicone type as it needs no greasing.Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe4. Arrange berries or chocolate chips on top. Press them in so they sink a bit.Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe 5. Bake for 35-40min in 180C preheated oven. Check with toothpick if it is baked thoroughly before removing the cake out of the oven.Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipeEnjoy baking ;-)

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My review of bullet journaling

my review on bullet journalingAt the beginning of this year I tried bullet journalling, so how did I get on? Well… my opinion about it has not changed much. I think this system is best suited for a single person who loooooves stationary. However the system itself is cool and it can maybe be applied to a wall organiser. Or at least this is what I am hoping to do.

First I will start with positives of bullet journalling (need to be positive!).

1. I loved how this diary is like a book. It almost feels like writing a book! You know how they say that everyone has a book in them?  Well, here is your chance to sort of practice and write it. It has page numbers, an index page, and more. my review on bullet journaling 2. The BUJO system itself is very practical. It’s all about tracking your tasks, organising them in advance and moving them around to different time slots. The “future log” creates an area where you can store events and tasks that needs to be done sometime in the future. The symbols lets you identify if the task is completed, moved or canceled. If only I could somehow translate this system into the wall diary/organiser…. hmm.my review on bullet journaling 3. My favourite part however is my new years goals pages. Although I feel I am slightly behind I feel splitting goals into tasks helped me to see the progress which itself is very uplifting. I know I know, if I do maths here I probably have almost half of the tasks completed, but only one third of the year left. So I am guessing I wont be able to complete all the tasks by the end of the year. But its ok, I can always review these tasks and forward some to the new year ;-).my review on bullet journaling 4. Additionally to all the fab parts of bullet journalling, I can store project patterns,my review on bullet journalingdetailed event hosting plan with drawings and recipes,my review on bullet journaling my cycle charts (embarrassed to say) and many more. Basically whatever floats your boat ;-). my review on bullet journalingWhen it comes to negative points of using BUJO is that it is not easy to access for whole family. Yes bullet journal is perfect for storing personal stuff like charts etc, but other then that when it comes to family planning this needs to somehow to transfer to a wall organiser.

And btw, I mentioned before that I was very excited to use my fountain pen with this journaling business. However this proved unpractical as I often had to wait till my writing dries before going onto next page. Also I made so many mistakes that by now I am not too bothered about my handwriting in this journal.

That is it for now, hope you found my review useful

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knitted scrubby pouches + three ways to use it

Knitted scrubby pouches It was such a breakthrough when we started reusing cleaning cloths, I am sure it saved few £££ too. It does not take a lot of space in the washing machine and I never seem to run out of them. Now my next step is to reuse scrubbing sponges, we go through soooo many! This is when I thought I could make my own! I saw few knitted wash cloths around so I thought it will be fun to knit the scrubbers too. I chose garden twine for it’s ridged and rough properties and garter stitch for it’s simplicity and texture. Let’s see how they hold up ;-)

These scrubby pouches are great as they can be used three ways. You can insert biodegradable sponge for some sponginess or a bar of soap for continuous foam (this can be suitable to use it in the bath I am sure). Alternatively you can use your hand which I find is easiest when doing some intense scrubbing.Knitted scrubby pouches To make this scrubby pouch you will need:

  • garden twine
  • 4-6mm knitting needles
  • matching size crochet hook
  • scissors

To begin with cast on a row measuring your hand width.

Knitted scrubby pouchesContinue by knitting on both sides which makes up garter knit stitch. Carry on knitting till you achieve long enough cloth that fits your sponge when folded.Knitted scrubby pouches Fold the cloth in half and join one side together using a crochet hookKnitted scrubby pouchesCrochet a chain same length as the cloth width. Knitted scrubby pouches Join another side same way as the other previously.  Knitted scrubby pouchesThis turns the cloth into pouch.Knitted scrubby pouches I have already tried out this scrubby pouch and must admit it is not as effective as a regular scourer sponge because it is not as flexible and soft. However with some practice it does work and it is gentle enough not to damage your pot and pans ;-).Knitted scrubby pouchesHope you found this useful!

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Gluten free pizza topped with fresh ingredients (two ways)

Gluten free pizza topped with fresh ingredientsSo we started a new diet for Tomas this month. We (which is really me) decided that his eczema may be caused by gluten intolerance. Like with any other diets we tried this includes a long 6 weeks trial where we change our menu to avoid the ingredient in question. I found gluten is not that difficult to avoid. Unlike dairy gluten mostly can be found in carbs. So essentially I thought I need to start baking my own bread, but then I was putting that off as bread baking involves quite a lengthy process…. however without gluten it is not so lengthy. The trouble with gluten free bread is that is difficult to bake a nice bread, but it does not take that much time to make it since we don’t need to kneed the dough to get the gluten to stretch. So all and all no gluten means hello quick bread!

I have been recently inspired by fresh tomato toast recipes from Half Baked Harvest blog. Fresh tomatoes in summer are just amazing! I don’t have such a big harvest of tomatoes (yet) this year, but I thought it would be lovely to make fresh tomato pizza anyways. I made pizza with cucumber as well (I have started getting them in my green house too!!).Gluten free pizza topped with fresh ingredientsGLUTEN FREE PIZZA TOPPED WITH FRESH INGREDIENTS

Makes two pizzas

(for the base)

  • 600g gluten free flour mix (mine consisted of rice, tapioca and potato starch)
  • 25g xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 2tsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 10g quick acting dry yeast
  • 350ml warm water

(for the fresh tomato pizza)

  • 125g mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-5 tomatoes, sliced
  • basil

(for the potato and cucumber pizza)

  • 125g mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces
  • 1 potato, pealed and thinly sliced (I used a grater)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • chives, finelly chopped
  • 1-3 cucumbers, sliced

1. Mix together the flour, xanthan gum, garlic salt, sugar, baking powder and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle. Pour the water into the well and mix everything to form two balls. Roll out the dough onto the baking sheet until it is 5mm thick.Gluten free pizza topped with fresh ingredients 2. To make the cheese and fresh tomato pizza sprinkle the garlic, mozzarella and cheddar cheese over the base. Season it and drizzle some olive oil on top. Bake the pizza in the preheated 200C oven for 20-30min. Once baked top the pizza with sliced tomato and fresh basil.Gluten free pizza topped with fresh ingredients 3. For the potato and cucumber pizza sprinkle the base with mozzarella, potato and chives. Heavily season it (potato requires more salt) and drizzle some olive oil on top. Bake the pizza in the preheated 200C oven for 20-30min. Gluten free pizza topped with fresh ingredients 4. Once baked, top the pizza with cucumber and more chives (and maybe salt if needed). Gluten free pizza topped with fresh ingredientsEnjoy!

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Quick and easy liquid hand soap recipe

Quick and easy liquid hand soap recipeI have a little confession to make. When I go shopping for cleaning products or cosmetics I often judge it by its cover. I feel very very embarrassed by it as I made very bad (spontaneous) decision few weeks ago. I saw this handwash in a pretty packaging at Aldi and without much research or checking ingredients label I went and bought it…. Just because it looked stylish! I placed this bottle of hand soap by our kitchen sink and after first use I was hugely disappointed. A hand soap that supposed to smell like grapefruit stunk like cheap perfume. Not something you want to smell when preparing the food. This is when I decided to make my own liquid hand wash.

Now I made liquid soap before my friends, but honestly that recipe I used before never been used again. Why? Because it was not easy enough to make! I knew I needed a recipe that is quick to make and I could just mix something up when I run out. I was hoping to make soap in small quantities that does not need to be stored. After some research I came up with the recipe that is simple and easy and hopefully uses ingredients you already have (if you made any cleaning products before like this laundry liquid). I realised that the magical combination for perfect liquid hand soap is liquid castle soap, oil, essential oil (for a lovely smell) and water. For oil you can use glycerol or even fractionated coconut oil to make antibacterial soap. For water I saw people often use distilled water, but I used cooled boiled water instead.Quick and easy liquid hand soap recipe To make your own hand soap you will need:

  • about 300ml soap dispenser
  • 4 tbsp liquid Castile soap
  • 3 tbsp oil (I used glycerol instead as I had some already)
  • 15 drops essential oil (I used lavender)
  • cooled boiled water

Quick and easy liquid hand soap recipe Pour the Castile soap, oil and essential oils into the dispenser bottle.Quick and easy liquid hand soap recipe Fill up the rest of the dispenser with water.Quick and easy liquid hand soap recipe Voila, it is that easy!Quick and easy liquid hand soap recipeHope this has been useful

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Watercolour challenge: underwater

Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in FranceLast month while exploring Carhaix-Plougue in France I was surprised to see so many creative wall murals around. These were mostly underwater creatures and seaweed that were appearing not only on the walls. There were few similar artworks displayed on the windows too. Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in France Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in France Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in FranceSo inspired by all this art I decided to paint similar art for my watercolour challenge. It has been refreshing to paint something in one colour and discover different tones in it. I chose bluish grey which was perfect for sea world paintings.Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in France Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in FranceLater I realised that the wall murals in France were actually just the paintings on white paper and then stuck onto the wall. I wonder if they were having an open-air art gallery out there in Carhaix-Plougue…. hmmWatercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in France Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in FranceWe found this jelly fish at the beach which is soo pretty and obviously made its way to my pages on my notebook. I think sometimes the best inspiration comes from nature itself ;-).Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in France Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in FranceThanks for letting me share!

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Salad in a crepe

Nicoice salad in a crepe recipeMy love for crepes have reached the next level while in France. I knew crepes can be savoury and sweet but it never crossed my mind that crepes can be served with salad inside it. Woaaaah!!! Sunny times like these require a lot of salad eating I think! I also decided to brave up this time and make crepes 100% buckwheat (we all know pancakes without gluten are just too complicated). But after many failures you eventually get it, buckwheat pancakes need a lot of practice and patience. If you are not up for challenge, regular crepes/pancakes taste just fine ;-).Nicoice salad in a crepe recipeNICOISE SALAD IN A CREPE

(for the crepe)

  • 200g buckwheat flour
  • pinch of salt
  • about 500ml water
  • knob of butter for frying

(for the salad)

  • 3-4 potatoes, pealed and thinly sliced
  • sunflower oil
  • 200g canned tuna in brine
  • 20 green olives, halved
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful of lettuce, chopped
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 eggs, quatered
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard (we did not use it here, but I think it would taste good)
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed to paste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • chives, finelly chopped

1. First prep the crepe batter by combining all the ingredients. Start with dry ingredients and then gradually add water into it till the batter reach double cream consistently (be careful not to overmix). Refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

2. Boil the eggs.

3. Fry the potatoes in the frying pan with the generous amount of oil.Nicoice salad in a crepe recipe4. Make the salad. Arrange prepped ingredients ready for serving. Sprinkle with chives and seasoning.Nicoice salad in a crepe recipe5. To make vinaigrette combine vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, garlic paste, lemon juice and sugar in the jug. Add salt and pepper to taste. Nicoice salad in a crepe recipe6. Melt the butter in well heated frying pan. Pour one spoonful of crepe batter and immediately start swirling round the pan to get nice even layer. Loosen around the edge with a spatula once the top “dries up”, then turn the crepe and cook for further 1 minute. As you can see its not easy as with lack of gluten these crepes are flaky and therefore easily collapse when flipping. However I am sure lovely crepes can be achieved once you have a bit of practice.Nicoice salad in a crepe recipe7. To serve arrange Nicoise salad on the crepe and scatter more chives on the top.Nicoice salad in a crepe recipeBon Apetitte

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French holiday with friends

French holiday with friends (in Brittany)Back from French holidays last week and I can honestly say these were the best holiday so far since having kids. Although I thought I learned so much already how to do relaxing with kids, I still keep learning on the job. For those who are still struggling to holiday with babies here are my post from few years ago, I can only encourage you that things gets better with kids age.

With older kids you can create play area where they can play independently. Which is why it is so important to pick a place that is child friendly and safe. Self catered houses/villas are the best! Not only that they provide more space for your children, but it also come up much cheaper than hotels. French holiday with friends (in Brittany)We loved eating in as it was so much more relaxing in the evening and that meant we could relax outside while kids are sleeping near by. I have learned (thanks to our friends that went on holidays with us) how simple is to pack lunches which saved us money and time (no need to find a restaurant and wait for a food with impatient kids). It was so much more relaxing just to picnic outside. We were so lucky to have such a good weather!French holiday with friends (in Brittany) We loved local activities such as kayaking and walks by the cannel. So my advice is to pick a location/house that comes with activities you like. That way you can exchange with baby sitting and do fun things in turns!French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany)French holiday with friends (in Brittany) We stayed in Brittany, near Carhaix-Plougue. It is a very cute and creative town with lots of wall murals around (I am so into #wallmurals right now!!!).French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) There was this crochet doily artworks all around the town centre and library. Feeling very inspired just remembering it!French holiday with friends (in Brittany) Of course we also visited the lake and local sea side which was the highlight I think.French holiday with friends (in Brittany) Amber water is not what people tend to get excited about lol, but I did!French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany)Have you started the holiday season yet? Hope my tips help ;-)

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How to make your own laundry liquid

All natural laundry liquid recipeLiving sustainably does not mean going extreme, I believe every little bit helps (oops, did not mean to sound like Tesco slogan). I dream to be completely sustainable one day, but for now I only choose the steps towards it that have immediate benefits for us (like reusable food wraps I made last month).

So this month I have been researching about cleaning products (all natural as possible of course!!!). I am very sensitive to synthetic and strong smells, so this was my main driver for going ahead and making some myself. Because I thought I could make cleaning products that smell nice and do not break the bank.

I made laundry liquid first because I was keen to make something for Tomas who has eczema. I heard that added perfumes and other nasty bits can make eczema worse! I looked at a few laundry liquid recipes and decided on the ingredient combination that I though would work best and that are easily accessible in UK (so you won’t find any borax in my ingredient list!). I added some lavender essential oil so now my laundry liquid smells very similar to the Ecover liquid that we tend to buy. All natural laundry liquid recipeTo make your own laundry liquid you will need:

  • 240g soda crystals (similar to Borax but not the same)
  • 50g bicarbonate soda (can be baking type)
  • 150ml liquid Castile soap
  • 1.5l boiling water (it needs to dissolve soda mix)
  • 20 drops essential oil of your choice (I used lavender)
  • large bowl or a jug
  • whisk

All natural laundry liquid recipeMix soda crystals with bicarbonate soda. Gradually add boiling water and the Castile soap while whisking. Continue whisking till it combines well and the soda is dissolved. You should end up with foam on top.All natural laundry liquid recipeLet the laundry liquid cool down and then add essential oil if using.All natural laundry liquid recipePour the laundry liquid into jars or bottles. Use half a cup per wash, so the recipe last for about 12 loads. I already did a few washes and I must admit I can’t see much of a difference between shop bought and mine, except the homemade one is much cheaper. Besides this laundry liquid is so quick to make and uses similar ingredients that other cleaning products need. So essentially you only need a few basic ingredients to make many cleaning products for around the house!All natural laundry liquid recipeHope you found this useful ;-)

Rasa xoxo

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