Cafe Inspirations: our weekend away in Paris

Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in ParisNow when we announced our big news last week, you have wondered what this cafe is going to look/feel like?! Let me share a glimpse of it through the french cafes and patisseries we visited on our weekend away in Paris. It was quite an inspiration!
Those who have been following us here for a while may know I love anything French (or specifically Parisian). Except the smell of urine in summer of course (those who visited Paris in summer will understand what I am talking about)! But seriously how good is french pastry, it is always worth visiting Paris any day! In the past I took french pastry baking classes, I read books on how to parent the french way and went through the “Little Paris Kitchen” book in a year. So yes, Parisian lifestyle is not all about the pastry, but also the culture and their relationship with food. Food is not only for nourishment and enjoyment but also for relationship building and this is what we hope to achieve here in our cafe 🙂.
Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in ParisWhile in Paris, we purposely avoided the touristy places. We stayed by Canal Saint-Martin, walked around in 3rd and 11th districts, went on bike rides, visited Musée des arts et métiers, and ate in as many cafe’s as we could.Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in ParisCafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in ParisWe also had to experience going for a picnic. We bought some coffees and pastries and took it to this Park (Square du Temple – Elie Wiesel) and watched people dancing tango on the bandstand ;-).Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris And I had to include this pic, which depicts a very realistic instagram culture in Paris. This guy have spend good 15 min taking picture of this cupcake over the Canal Saint-Martin without feeling any awkwardness or public fear (or t least he did not look bothered). This really inspired me to take my sweet time when taking pictures in public. I tend to be quite nervous otherwise and want to end my photoshoot in public as soon as I got at least one ok pic. Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in ParisHave a lovely weekend, we are off to the wedding. Hope you a lovely last day of summer!
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Our city break in Bristol

Our city break in Bristol with kidsLast month when I was planning what to do for Tomas birthday I have decided we need to visit Bristol and so we did few weeks ago! I must admit this trip was little selfish of me as I wanted to check this city for myself. I was following few bloggers on IG who live in Bristol and so it got me inspired to visit at the first place. Fear not! I also included some kiddie activities in our itinerary. After all it was Tomas birthday! I planned to visit Aquarium, but we have visited We The Curious exhibition centre instead, which I recommend to everyone with kids.  Our city break in Bristol with kidsWe mostly stayed around the wharf area, but went for lunch and breakfast to the city centre. I think you would need at least a week to explore the whole of Bristol!Our city break in Bristol with kidsFirst stop was breakfast at Pinkmans after not so great night in Airbnb (don’t you always get really bad first night when traveling with kids and then it gets better??!!). Anyhow, heard lots of good things about this bakery and I was not disappointed with food. A little pricey and not very kids friendly, although they did have few high chairs. I loved the plants that were populating most of the place, I guess the indoor lighting is enough?! There was the whole stair covered in plants which looked like a little jungle. Quite inspiring for when I will open my own cafe one day ;-).Our city break in Bristol with kids Our city break in Bristol with kids Our city break in Bristol with kids We walked a lot! I mean we walked all around the Canon’s Marsh. Luckily the weather was very summery, although it did not feel right to be in t-shirt just yet. Our city break in Bristol with kids Our city break in Bristol with kids Our city break in Bristol with kids Our city break in Bristol with kids Our city break in Bristol with kids Our city break in Bristol with kidsOne of the things I really loved about Bristol are the mural art displays. Unfortunately I did not take that many photos of them.Our city break in Bristol with kidsFor lunch we went to Pizzarova where we stuffed our faces with the artisan type pizzas. Ours had a béchamel sauce which was lovely… hmmm. I also liked the deco! Another inspiration for my cafe one day ;-). Our city break in Bristol with kids Our city break in Bristol with kids Our city break in Bristol with kids Our city break in Bristol with kidsNow more about our Airbnb, it was our first time to do it with kids. And I think I would do it again! So much more flexible than staying in a small hotel room. The only thing I would have done differently next time is not be afraid to rearrange the rooms to fit our needs. You can always put everything back when leaving. On the first night kids were sleeping in a large bedroom while me and Joni were crammed in a small one because it had more plant pots that could be knocked down by kids. On the second night we decided not to suffer and move all the plants to the bigger bedroom. We all slept so much better that night!Airbnb in BristolI generally love staying in Airbnb’s (I used to host on Airbnb), not only flexibility. I like seeing different ideas on how to decorate my own house as well as wondering about the host personality (if they live in the property themselves). This time round It was a lovely host who likes to travel and I am guessing he rents the whole place when he is on holiday. What a great way travel!Airbnb in BristolOn our way home we saw this Clifton Suspension Bridge, which was grand!!Our city break in Bristol with kidsHope you got inspired to travel 😉
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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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Watercolour challenge: jungle

Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle To be completely honest it was very hard to come back to painting but once I started I really felt piece and joy. I felt inspired by the plants that I saw on our holiday in Dominican Republic. Tropical climate plants are so so pretty!!! I am inspired to have some of them at my home some day, but for now they can at least live on my walls.
As usual I started with the method in mind I wanted to try. This time I wanted to try watercolour combined with the wax crayons. I remember first time I fell in love with the watercolour is when my Finish art teacher showed me how crayons makes paper waterproof and when watercolour is painted on top of it, the wax of crayon blocks from colouring (mixing with) the drawing leaving the colour it was but colouring all around it instead. This technique really fascinated me back then which is why I wanted to try it out again. In the painting above I drew the core lines with the crayon and painted leafs on top of it. I was pretty pleased with the outcome. The lines kept its sharp green shade!Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungleThe plant in the pic above have been my favourite so far! Although I don’t feel I depicted it well in my painting…Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Painting this curly leaf plant was quite fun! I love making repetitive patterns and painting these wiggly lines been real pleasure.Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle To add some colour (not only paint in green) I tried painting this pink flower. I feel this was not my best painting so far. And look at all this mess I made in my watercolour palette! I wonder if other artist end up like that. Although I have seen other people just using water colour from the little tubes and mixing palette on separate piece of paper. I wonder if it is worth investing in fresh collection of water paint, hmm…Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle For my next botanical painting I decided to use pencil instead (and rub it off after), that way I thought I will improve my shading technique. I divided the leaf into different segments that are “coloured in” separately and therefore shading is visible (hopefully). This painting took 2-3 hours, but it was so so worth it. I am in love!Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Finally this was a quick painting, I used pencil to mark the stalk of the fern and leaf in watercolour. I don’t know why, but this is my another favourite, so simple but so beautiful at the same time!Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungleThanks for letting me share my experiences here re my new found passion 🙂
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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.
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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 😉
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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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