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Watercolour challenge: forest in snow

Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian Alps As you may have already noticed I enjoy taking challenges, and for a good reason! Challenges are good for achieving goals. Not all types of goals of course, but if you want to learn something or get to start doing something then this method is the best (at least in my experience). In the past I did Pinterest challenge to get myself to try more recipes from Pinterest (still doing it sometimes), then I did a photography challenge so I could learn to take better pictures, I did a sugar free diet in the form of a challenge (sort of) and a book reading quest for three years which worked a treat. Now my aim is to get myself painting more and this is why I came up with this watercolour challenge ;-).

Few weeks ago we went to ski to Austrian Alps and I loved the snow there (as well as occasional snow at home). Falling snow brought be joy and the whole experience was quite magical so I decided to put it all on the paper. But at the first glance snow is white, so how do I paint the white? Once I look through this first obstacle I realised snow came in different shades actually. Whats more, I liked seeing some bold colours in a pretty misty landscape such as people wearing bright outfits or a lift cabin like in the pic above.Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian Alps I began painting the forest landscape first. I thought if I do it using the classic watercolour method I should achieve the right texture quite easily. I tried dipping paper into water and then paint vogue outline of fir trees. I thought the paint would bleed and that way would create required texture. That did not work out even when I tried getting better paper and paint brushes. The fir trees just looked too plain for my liking. Eventually after much trial and error and some research I found that salt is best in creating this so much desired texture. Yey!!! Now I am quite pleased with my winter wonderland forest painting. Hope you can pardon my spelling, but I do love this quote. It's exactly how I feel when I see snow!Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian Alps Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian AlpsThis is what I mean by many shades in the white snow. It was fun painting this as shading with watercolour is very pleasant. It works quite simple: the more water you add the lighter the colour. If you want the colours to bleed less then wait for it to dry more before applying another layer. Watercolour challenge: snow Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian AlpsPainting trees has always been my favourite thing to paint. Here I initially tried to create the branches by blowing on the drop of paint that was sitting already on the paper. Later I added more branches and snow by lightly brushing some tinted water on it. Watercolour challenge: forest in snow Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian AlpsLastly I was amazed of fir tree needles sticking out in the snow. This took quite a lot of attention on detail but it was all worth the try.Watercolour challenge: forest in snow Watercolour challenge: forest in snowHope I inspired you too to take a challenge or thought you something new about watercolour.

Rasa xoxo


Devon in Autumn

Devon in Autumn We spend last week in Devon to celebrate Lukas birthday and I was blown away by a beautiful scenery once again. I was thinking yeah yeah, I been here before and blogged about it as well. Surely there is nothing new to see and share. But guess what? I changed my mind! Initially I was taking pictures with my phone not planing to post it and only on our last walk I took my DSLR with me when I realised this beauty needs to be captured properly. So forgive me for some pics that does not have such a great quality, I included some pics from my older walks when I was not prepared. Devon in AutumnYou would think Devon is coloured with Autumn colours right now, but thats not the case. It turns out the grass is still green (very very green in fact), then there are evergreen plants such as my beloved ferns ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ . Devon in AutumnDevon in Autumn Even the pond is green in Autumn because of green algae, who could have thought!Devon in Autumn Lukas liked the muddy puddles the best and I decided to chillax and let him enjoy the Devon properly. He even took his cars to have a wash :D.Devon in Autumn Devon in Autumn Devon in Autumn Devon in Autumn Devon in Autumn And of course there were bees. Joni's dad said I was brave to go and take pics of them so close so I could share these pics with you ;-). Luckily I did not get stung! I wonder what the bees are up to in Autumn.Devon in Autumn Devon in AutumnHope you are enjoying Autumn wherever you are :-).

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Devon in spring

Devon in spring A week or so ago we had a pleasure of visiting Devon again. This time in spring! This is one of the benefits of having family somewhere far and dreamy (many negative aspects as well unfortunately). Like everywhere else in spring outdoors are filled with many bright coloured flowers like daffodils and bluebells, however here I found primroses as well (strangely it reminds me of Teletubbies scenery... hmm). Devon in spring: full of primroses Devon in spring Although we stayed in Honiton we have been lucky to explore further in Devon. We took a tramway to Seaton through dreamy marshes...Devon in spring: on the way to Seaton by Tramway Devon in spring: Seaton Devon in spring ...and explored the seaside :).Devon in spring: Seaton Devon in spring: Seaton Devon in spring: Seaton Devon in spring: Seaton We also had a chance to visit Escot Park that happen to have this lovely cafe.Devon in spring: cafe at the Escot park Devon in spring Devon in spring: Escot Park Devon in spring: Escot Park Devon in springHope you all had a lovely Easter break too ;-)

Rasa xx


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



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!

Rasa xoxo


Happy marriage cake

Happy marriage cake recipeHappy marriage cake it is not a made up name for a cake, it's a traditional Icelandic name for rhubarb jam tart. I first tried this cake on an airplane (a location not generally associated with fine patisserie, but I was craving something sweet) and I was't impressed. But I saw potential in this cake and I knew that I could make it taste moist and wholesome. After all this cake needed to live up to it's wonderful name!Happy marriage cake recipeFor the filling I have made a strawberry and rhubarb jam because I wanted it in pink colour and I was never able to get that colour just from rhubarb (I don't know how other bakers do it?!). I added oatmeal to the crust as that seemed traditional for this cake.Happy marriage cake recipeHAPPY MARRIAGE CAKE

(for the filling)

  • 220g rhubarb, chopped
  • 120g strawberries
  • 150g sugar

(for the crust)

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 130g sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 85g oats
  • 170g flour
  • 1tsp cinnamon

1. Make the jam filling first. Place the chopped rhubarb, strawberries and sugar into a small pan and bring to the boil (splash some water to begin with so it does burn). Cook for about 10-15 minutes until the mixture is thick and jammy. You then can puree the mixture with the hand processor if you prefer smooth texture.

2. Make a crust dough by creaming butter with sugar till it is light and fluffy. Gradually add egg yolks, oats, flour and cinnamon and mix everything to combine.

3. Spread the crust dough at the bottom and sides of lined baking tin reserving small amount for later. Happy marriage cake recipe4. Pour the jam filling into the dough. Dot the remaining crust over the top. Bake the cake in the preheated 180C for 25-35 minutes.Happy marriage cake recipe Happy marriage cake recipeHappy weekend everyone!

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IcelandThis is probably going to be the loooongest post I have ever posted, but there is so much to see! Our holidays in Iceland turned out to be breathtaking (at least for me) even if it was only for four days. I can honestly confirm that Icelandic scenery is completely out of this world. No wonder there were so many movies filmed here! I hope the pics below speak for themselves (especially the pic of never ending lupin field).Lupin field in Iceland Icelandic scenary Waterfall in IcelandWaterfalls were definitely one of the signature Icelandic features.Iceland IcelandThyme that grows in Iceland!Thyme in Iceland What grows in Iceland Icelandic scenaryTomato farm, IcelandAfter seeing fields of lava, moss, lupin and greenery we were wondering where Icelandic people grow their veg? We got our answer after visiting one of the green house farms. Due to short summers, green houses are the way to go and because of cheap electricity due to volcanic nature here in Iceland the lighting and heating  does not cost very much. Plus they have these very friendly bumble bees to pollinate the plants :-).Bumble bees in tomato green house, Iceland Geysir, IcelandGeysir springs were breathtaking, although very stinky! It definitely gave me few heart jumps when they exploded all unexpectedly.Geysir, Iceland Geysir, Iceland Waterfall in Iceland Iceland Icelandic scenary Iceland Glacier Lagoon, IcelandGlacier lagoon is another place that I loved, although it was a very cold experience. Turns out the icebergs are white/bluish from the outside because of the sun and all clear under. Clear ice block found in Glacier lagoon, Iceland what grows in Iceland Black sand beach, Iceland Black sand beach, Iceland Black sand beach, IcelandI love seasides and this one is exceptionally amazing! Black and white, who would have thought it exist?Black sand beach, IcelandMe and Joni celebrated our 1st Wedding anniversary that day as well :-). Our first Wedding Anniversary in Iceland Waterfall in Iceland Reykjavik from the church tower perspective....Reykjavik, Iceland Reykjavik, Iceland Reykjavik, Iceland Blue Lagoon, IcelandAnd the last, but not least is the Blue lagoon. This was my main reason why I wanted to visit Iceland!Blue Lagoon, Iceland Blue Lagoon, Iceland Blue Lagoon, Iceland Blue Lagoon, IcelandI hope you are inspired to visit Iceland :-)

Rasa xx


Holidaying in Lithuania :-)

Plane CloudsWe just came back from our long long holidays in Lithuania and Iceland (this is why I was so silent for couple of weeks). More holiday pics to follow, but for now here are the pics from our Lithuanian adventure with Nicola (my sister) and Chris :-). At my granniesFirst we have visited my Granny, than the forest in Kuršių Nerija National Park...Wild strawberriesMy sister and meForest at the seaside My sister and me...than the seaside with dunes.sand dunesRasa xoxo



Panemunė forest

I just came back from Lithuania and i could not wait until I can share about our forest. Me and my mum went for a walk everyday here because it is just outside my parent's house. I know it may look dull as it is still an early spring but it is magical in winter or summer. Sadly, one thing I could not transfer into the pics is the smell of pines and oaks :-).Panemunė ForestAlthough there was a storm 4.5 years ago that destroyed 1/3 of forest, the consequences of it are still apparent today. Panemunė ForestEven if mini forest is growing to replace the lost one (It's a looooong process)Panemunė Forest Panemunė ForestAnd there is a river! (the biggest river in Lithuania called Nemunas)Panemunė Forest Panemunė Forest Panemunė Forest Panemunė ForestI hope you liked our mini forest tour ;-)

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Seaworld in patterns

SeaworldOne of the ways to get inspired to be creative is to look around you (especially in nature). At least this works for me! When we were visiting Florida it was hard to find something cultural or a place in nature. All you could find in Kissimmee is a lot of Amusement parks (I might love them one day when we have kids, but I hate them now)! So I ended up visiting the one with the least rides and more nature. In Seaworld I focused on texture colour and shapes. And this is what I got!

Seaworld in abstract patternsSeaworld Seaworld Seaworld SeaworldSome patterns I have painted myself after being inspired by all those underwater colours!Seaworld in abstract patternSeaworld Seaworld SeaworldI hope you feel inspired today and look around you when you go outdoors! And you can find patterns everywhere, even better than the ones I found in Seaworld :-).

Rasa xoxo


The Kennedy Space Centre and Cocoa Beach

Man on the moon snow globe from Kennedy Space CentreAnyone who knows me or anybody who reads this blog regularly are probably aware that I love love the seaside (or the beach). I don't have to have palms in it, but I certainly like some white sand dunes with a small amount of greenery in it. I like that, because it feels like unfinished canvas where I can imagine something colourful.

I also dream to go to space. In fact I share this dream with Joni. Maybe not exactly the same way, but this random dream of mine is the first thing that got me interested in Joni (in case I forgot to mention, he is an Aerospace Engineer). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo why am I talking about Cocoa beach and Kennedy Space Centre? What do those two have in common? two major dreams (to open a cafe and go to space) don't go together either, but I still have them and I know it sounds crazy, but I think I have them for a reason.

Same with the Kennedy Space Centre and Cocoa Beach, they sound random, but geographically close. They even share some history together! During 60's this beach town was populated by many people involved in America's space program. So basically this is where astronauts would come and rest when they are not in space! How amazing is that!Kennedy Space CentreDon't you think that this car tyre imprint on the sand looks a little bit like the foot steps found on the surface of the moon!?White sandLoved this Kennedy Space Centre star globe fountain with my reflection in it!Kennedy Space Centre Cocoa Beach Kennedy Space CentreCocoa Beach in the fog look sort of dreamy... Cocoa BeachI hope I got the attention of some of the cosmic dreamers (or seaside lovers) out there ;-)



Biscuits or scones?

Biscuits or scones? Basic coconut oil scone recipeWe recently have visited States and I finally had a chance to taste a biscuit... for breakfast, with the gravy!!! What? If you come from America than this might not be that surprising to you. But here in England biscuit has a complete different sense and purpose. It even looks different! The biscuit that I had in States reminded me of scone that we have over here. Maybe we don't eat scones with the gravy, but we certainly have cheesy types as well. I must admit eating the biscuit with gravy inspired me to try and marry the scone with the soup! Not just any soup, but the most british one: broccoli & stilton soup.Biscuits or scones?I of course tried to determine the differences between american biscuit and british scone, but did not found that many. Although the ingredients are practically identical, the scone recipe might call for buttermilk, oatmeal or even barley (especially the most traditional recipes). So I guess the choice is yours how to call this baked delight ;-).Biscuits or scones? Basic coconut oil scone recipeI often bake these basic type of scones, because they are that basic that you can add any flavour you want to them. You want them sweet = add a 1-2tbsp sugar and handful of dried sultanas, you want them cheesy = add any cheese you want! I replaced butter with coconut oil, just because I believe that make the scones feel a little bit less naughty. And it works every time! Oh, I just love the consistency and the benefits of the coconut oil!


  • 150g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 45g coconut oil
  • 30ml milk (can be substituted with coconut milk)
  • 1 medium egg (or add another 25ml of milk if you want to keep it even more basic)

1. Mix all the ingredients together (mix flour and baking powder separately first) until everything combines well and shapes non-stick dough.

2. Roll the dough 1 cm thick and by using cookie cutter cut the dough into the circles.

3. Bake the scones for about 10-15 in the preheated 180C oven. Biscuits or scones? Basic coconut oil scone recipe Biscuits or scones? Basic coconut oil scone recipeEnjoy!

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Our holiday in Florida

Our trip to FloridaWell... this was mainly my holiday as we were flying to Florida for Joni's conference so I had loads of time on my own. Not my perfect type of holidays, but I appreciated the opportunity and I am glad I grabbed it as I did (with both hands :D). What I enjoyed the most is the change of weather from frosty England to sunny beach!Our holidays in FloridaDAY 1: To begin me and Joni had first two days together. So we visited what mattered most, the Kennedy Space Centre. We both dream about going to space: me mostly for experience and Joni just loves the technical part of it (he is an Aerospace Engineer after all). If you are into experience as much as me I would really recommend Shuttle Launch Experience!Kennedy Space Centre Kennedy Space CentreI like tasting different flavours of Ice-cream wherever I go. This time I tried this pretty root beer float, which was probably not a right choice for me. I think root beer has a very acquired taste and I am... well... not quite acquired to it (this was my first time trying this type of drink!). The other ice cream I have tried was freeze dried Ice-cream (otherwise called Astronaut ice cream). It may not feel like eating an ice cream, but it was certainly an interesting experience! Kennedy Space CentreDAY 2: While Joni had a chance to take an extra super special tour at Kennedy Space Centre, I decided to explore the beach. Cocoa Beach was the closest and it certainly made my day! I spend a day in the sun lying on the sand dunes (tiny to compare to Lithuanian sand dunes though) just relaxing and reading a book (a head start on my new year resolutions!). Cocoa Beach Cocoa BeachDAY 3: I wasn't sure what to do with myself that day. Though I will check out the town, but have been told that there is nothing to be found. I humbled myself and checked out the SeaWorld (least commercial amusement park in Kissimmee). I am not quite keen on all those "parks" and my beloved beach is not an easy place to get to without the car. However I did like the aquariums with the underwater world (will post more pics soon!). Seaworld, FloridaSea World, Florida Sea World, FloridaDAY 4: A shopping day. I know I know, I generally don't do much shopping (at least for clothes)! I promised myself long time ago that I would make my own clothes all by myself (well, except shoes maybe), but it turned out quite a fun day! I bought so many things for Joni. Who knew that shopping for menswear can be that much fun!?

DAY 5: With a little bit of planning ahead I managed to squeeze in another day of beach! Yey! This time it was a Clearwater Beach which suppose to be a better beach to compare to Cocoa Beach. However Cocoa Beach has that rustic appeal that I love so much more than clear water and very very white sand. Ok, I did like the sand better in Clearwater beach. I think that sand may even be whiter and finer that the sand in the Lithuanian Beach. Which is quite odd, because Lithuanian beach have really fine slightly beige sand. Anyway, still another enjoyable day!Clearwater Beach, Florida Clearwater Beach, Florida Clearwater Beach, Florida Clearwater Beach, FloridaI hope you did not mind that I shared...

Rasa :-)


Lithuanian seaside in winter (minus the the snow)

Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, LithuaniaWe are back from Lithuania and I could not wait to share the highlights with you. My favourite place in the world still lies on the Lithuanian seaside, in Kuršių Nerija National Park. However this time I was hoping for snow. Why? Because snow on the seaside looks unusual and I like unusual things! Anyway, maybe I will catch the snow next year?

Getting to any destination begins with a journey and ours started with a ferry. I love how there is no other way to get to the other side than the ferry (unless you travel via a Russian enclave)! You basically get transferred to the other side while sitting in your own car. How amazing is that!Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, LithuaniaWalking through the forest to get to the sandy beach feels fairytale like. However I found these squirrel trail signs hilarious :-D.Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, Lithuania Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, Lithuania Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, LithuaniaAnd who thought we could find ready decorated Christmas tree in the middle of the forest?Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, Lithuania Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, Lithuania Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, Lithuania Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, LithuaniaTrying to make sand angels (I somehow think snow angels are better).Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, Lithuania Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, Lithuania Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, Lithuania Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, Lithuania Juodkrante, Kuršių Nerija National Park, LithuaniaI hope you enjoyed your Christmas and getting ready for 2015 ;-)

Rasa x