Woven Easter baskets

The first week after closing the cafe doors has been both overwhelming and relaxing at the same time for us. But we finally are getting into a routine! We are learning to work while with kids, to take turns in our responsibilities, work as a team, but most importantly we are learning how to slow down. Which is particularly hard for us as we have too many ideas (translated into jobs) all in one go. So we are kinda glad (although very very sorry to people who has been effected by the epidemic) that we now have an opportunity to pause, revisit the company ethos, finish all the unfinished jobs to do with cafe fit out, and create a better running system for when we reopen.

Meanwhile… I wanted to say that we had a few kids craft workshops planned for Easter and now this is no longer happening we thought to share some DIY ideas here. This basket will come in very useful for an Easter egg hunt either indoors or in your back garden. This craft is more suitable for school age kids, but younger ones can help with cutting the strips and decorating.

To make some woven baskets you will need:

  • A4 card (can be cereal box cutout, old kids artwork, or anything else from recycling)
  • scissors
  • glue (can be super glue, PVA, double sided tape, hot glue, or staples)

Begin by cutting the card lengthwise into 2-3cm wide strips.

Glue two strips together to make one long strip for the basket handle.

Arrange 10 strips ready to be woven (inc the long one you just made) as in the pic below.

Weave those strips together to create a bottom part of the basket.

Fold all the ends upwards to create basket walls.

Using more strips weave around into the basket walls. Use glue (we used double sided tape) as needed to make the weave more secure.

Continue viewing 1-2 more rows while adding more of ready cut strips.

Tidy up the ends (except the long strips) by either folding them in or trimming them. Make sure to use more glue to secure edging in straight line.

Finish the basket by glueing two long strips together to make a handle.

If you don’t have any chocolate eggs in the house, or just want to have a go baking and decorating with kids then check out this post on how to make these Kids art Easter biscuits. We used a shortbread recipe this year as we were short of actual eggs!

Happy Easer egg hunt ūüėČ

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IKEA Moppe advent calendar

This year Christmas is looking a little different to us a family. With the cafe launch in January we are not able to visit any of our family (Joni parents are in Devon and mine are in Lithuania). This means for the first time it is only going to be just four of us at the Christmas dinner (five if you include the cat). I am feeling hopeful as I heard lots of good stuff about celebrating Christmas without big family involved therefore I am planning to make the best out of it! 

Christmas preparation is looking also very different this year. Although we don’t always have Christmas tree in, I tend to finish decorating before December. Obviously this is not the case this year! Which is why I decided to make the advent calendar part of our Christmas prep.

Besides that, our advent calendar have to be less wasteful. Last year when I did my origami advent calendar, we had a good chunk of paper wasted . So you can imagine that going with the advent calendar design that can be reused again and again was a big reason why I chose Ikea Moppe solution. After doing some research on different examples I decided to go with something very simple as this can be updated every year. In worst case scenario this can be repainted and used as a craft supply storage!

What took most of my time in preparation was not an actual making of the advent calendar but filling the drawers.

To glue 4 Moppe drawers together all I used PVA and clamps.

I used black marker and white chalk marker to draw windows and doors to imitate a building.

To imitate the roof I decided to go with the cardboard. Making out of wood would have taken me much longer! I lined it with polyester filling which essentially looks like artificial snow.

To attach the roof was a little tricky. I tried duck tape as well as hot glue gun. None of that worked. Eventually I resorted to staple gun (it works every time). Although I expect it made some damage, I think it will be easy to fix with some fillers and sanding. I will definitely try making roof out of wood next year!!

At the end of the day, I am happy with the result! It took me to make in about an hour while filling draws with activities took me more like 3h (oops).

Happy Christmas waiting!

Rasa xx

Moon ice-cream cake

I usually take great pleasure in baking birthday cakes for my kids. However I made Lukas birthday a little differently this year as it was made entirely out of ice-cream! This might be odd for some, but in my childhood ice-cream cake was normal. Besides, don’t you find that kids tend to eat the icing of the cake first? With ice-cream cake the whole cake gets eaten by your little party guests. Trust me! Ice-cream cake is the best! You can thank me later ūüėČ

This ice-cream is super easy to make. I chose this recipe as it does not need churning therefore it can just be frozen in a dome shaped dish. I used a metal mixing bowl, but I would recommend a silicone dome shaped baking mould.

MOON ICE-CREAM CAKE

  • 1l whipping or double cream
  • 2 cans condensed milk (784g)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence (optional)
  • black food colouring (as needed)

1. Whip the cream and add the rest of ingredients into the bowl.

2. Mix to combine, add more of food colouring if necessary.

3. Transfer the mix into the mould if using. Otherwise freeze it in the bowl overnight.

4. To remove the cake out of silicone mould should be easy. But if you froze it in a metal bowl there is a trick you can use for safe removal. Put the bowl upside down and place damp hot cloths on top. Keep swapping cloths for freshly heated ones till ice-cream comes out. With this method the cake came out not in the best shape, but considering it is meant to be a moon like I decided the wobbly lines give an authentic character to it.

Once tidied up, decorated with some authentic craters ūüėČ , and with space themed candles I think it turned out pretty well!

Another good reason why this cake is good to make for birthdays is because it can be prepped weeks before and decorated with very little to be impressive.

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What we learned hosting a kids party

Last month we have celebrated Lukas 4th birthday and we decided to host his party at our home. I always dreamed to host kids parties so I was quite excited about it! The only problem we came across was the lack of space. But then we thought to rely on doing some activities in our back garden. And this is when we learned the lesson, never rely on British weather! Seriously! What were we thinking. All 14 kids and their parents got stranded indoors, because it was pouring all day! That of course would not have happened if we hired a venue. And if you are local to us, we will certainly be hosting kids parties at the cafe once it opens!

I began planning the party two months in advance and because I am very visual I started with a theme. Prior to deciding on the theme I asked Lukas what he would like to have, it was instantly clear that we were having a space themed party (he loves rockets!). It was easy for me then to create the invites as this is an area where I thrive. As usual with my design I made it as visually interactive as I could.

Next up is the cake, I wanted something unusual but certainly moon shaped ;-). I will be sharing how I made this ice-cream cake very soon!

Food? I went with a simple menu! I have been very fortunate to work at a kids cafe in the past and I quickly realised that kids are very simple, they prefer their party food fun and uncomplicated.

Snacks, star shaped sandwiches, pizza, and astronaut food pouches (aka fruit puree baby pouches) were our favourites! We had a separate food platter laid out for adults too.

Besides the food we had party activities! In fact we had a whole party program planned out, which of course was messed up by the bad weather we had on the day. We ended up taking most of messy craft activities indoors.

Luckily kids painted their rockets, but not the walls (phew!).

The moral of our story? Unless you have a mansion or want to host a small party we recommend to hire a venue. At our cafe we will help you to come up with the best decorations for your chosen theme, simple or more experimental menu, activities and more. Check out our shop for more details ;-).

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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 b√©chamel 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 ūüėČ
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Pinterest challenge: parsley cheese crackers

Parsley cheese crackers recipeFirst of all I would like to inform you that I won’t be doing any “Pinterest challenge” posts anymore (Booo! I know!). I feel like I have been doing this for ages (4 and half years to be more specific) and I felt these lack of creativity on my part. Yes, I have learned a lot, I have made my own alterations on some of the recipes, I tried many recipes that just have been sitting there on my boards and I use some of these recipes again and again… BUT I feel it’s time to move on! I realised I need to start creating more of my own recipes as well (which I have been doing already).
Now coming back to my final “Pinterest challenge” post. I have been doing a lot of cupboard clearing lately. This included me going through my cupboards and using up all these leftover flours and grains etc. Although these crackers does not call for any special flour, I baked them anyways as these make good lunch box fillers (Lukas calls them lunch box stars) and they make as a tasty snack on the go too! I tweaked the recipe a little bit to add some parsley. I feel better when this adds some green into the kids lunch boxes, even though I am not too sure how many nutrients from the parsley survive the process. Either way at least the parsley give some work out for the taste buds ;-).¬†Parsley cheese crackers recipe¬†PARSLEY CHEESE CRACKERS adopted from Winter Monroe

  • 200g flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 85g butter
  • 200g cheese, finely grated
  • 1 egg
  • handful parsley + 2tbsp water, whizzed to a paste

1. Add the garlic powder into the flour and mix to combine. Rub the butter into the flour mix with your fingertips until the mixture looks like moist breadcrumbs.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine.Parsley cheese crackers recipe3. Roll the pastry out, 7mm thick. Using a cookie cutter cut out the shapes and place them on ready lined baking tin or tray. This part is fun to do with kids!Parsley cheese crackers recipe 4. Bake the crackers in 180C preheated oven for 10-15min.Parsley cheese crackers recipe Parsley cheese crackers recipeEnjoy!
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It's not too late to knit a hat!

kids bear hat knitting instructionsFirst of all, Happy New Year everyone!
Secondary, just because it’s winter, that does not mean it’s over very soon. I hope I am not sounding too negative for some (I know some of you are really looking forward to Summer already), but we only had one winter month and there are two left to go. My point is that we should enjoy this weather and make the most of it!
I personally love love January (I learned to love every season), because it’s time for refocusing, spring cleaning (would like to call it winter cleaning but it sounds weird), detoxing (If you are into it) and knitting of course. I love January because it is a beginning of the year and the plans are not strictly set therefore it is often not a busy month.kids bear hat knitting instructionsOver holidays I have started knitting because we have gone away and I was free from doing all the house tasks. I find knitting (or any other crafting) is something I can do while chatting or watching a movie. I find it very relaxing! I knitted this hat for my nephew that Tomas is modelling here, hence blurry pics because he can’t stay still. If you fancy knitting this hat then you can access the project here!kids bear hat knitting instructionsHave an enjoyable January!
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Origami advent calendar

Origami advent calendar DIYSo here it is, our advent calendar for this year :). Very very simple to make and I have already received many compliments from friends! I simply used some pattern designs that I created for watercolour challenge few months ago and it brighten up our living room already. Yey!
Each package contain origami idea which is great for me (I love learning something new!) and great with involving kids. I am planning to either teach Lukas how to make stuff by folding paper (for easy ones) or let him decorate completed origami item. I am also considering not to be stuck with using only paper. The possibilities are endless, regular blanket could turn into star for all you know. For those who are following me on social media be prepared for daily dosage of origami!Origami advent calendar DIY¬†You ready to make your own origami advent for this year? Then let’s crack on!
You will need:

  • A4 or square size patterned paper, either printouts or shop bought gift wrapping paper
  • number tags
  • origami idea “ribbons”
  • scissors
  • treats to add into the packages (optional and we decided to go without this year)
  • a hanger
  • string or slim ribbon

First, cut out all the tags and origami idea “ribbons”.Origami advent calendar DIYMake¬†all the packages for every 24 days. Begin with folding in corners (1.), then fold in the sides and insert all the contents (2.). Finally fold in the pointy corners once again on both sides (3) and secure it using double sided tape. Use a string or a ribbon to wrap the package like a gift (4.). Don’t forget to insert the tag before tying the knot.How to fold an envelope from A4¬†Once all the packages are complete, then all you need to do is tie them on the hanger and hang it on the wall.Origami advent calendar DIY Origami advent calendar DIYHappy Christmas waiting!
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Aeroplane themed birthday cake

Aeroplane themed birthday cakeSo here it is, my vision became a reality. This year I made Lukas birthday cake aeroplane themed which he really enjoyed. I have been dreaming about this cake for ages (not really I practically copied the idea from here). The only thing I wanted to do differently is to try and dye the frosting with natural dyes….
But as you may know the colour blue is hard to find in nature! I know i know, the sky is blue, but you can’t exactly put that in the icing. With a bit of research and friends recommendation I went with butterfly pea tea that is sort of blue. You see I had fun with experimenting and realised that butterfly pea tea changes colour according to the ph of the liquid you mix it into. With a bit of lemon it turns to a burgundy violet and with milk it turns into bluish sky blue. Although this might sound easy, the blue that I get from mixing the tea with milk is not concentrated enough for what is needed when you try to dye large amounts of frosting. I ended up using it in¬†soft cheese frosting¬†and it turned out a little more lilac then sky blue. Shall we imagine that the planes are flying over a sunset sky?Aeroplane themed birthday cake¬†BLUEBERRY YOGURT CAKE WITH BUTTERFLY PEA FROSTING
(for the cake)

  • 3 eggs
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 450g greek yogurt
  • 180g rapeseed or olive oil
  • 300g ground almond
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 2 handful blueberries

(for the meringue)

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • few drops of lemon
  • pinch of salt

(for the frosting)

  • 600g soft cheese
  • icing sugar to taste, sifted
  • butterfly pea tea, brewed in little water

(for the “aeroplanes”)

  • cocktail sticks
  • wafers in the finger form

1. To make the cake beat the eggs with sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix again to combine.¬†Pour equal amount of cake mixture into two lined baking tins. Bake in 180C oven for 40-45min.Aeroplane themed birthday cake¬†2. Meanwhile prepare the meringues for baking. Baking these will take few hours on the low heat once the cake is baked presuming you don’t have two ovens. Mix the egg whites with drop of lemon, salt and half of icing sugar. Start whisking the mixture while gradually adding the rest of icing sugar. In the past I struggled to make meringues and later I realised that all it needs a little patience. It takes really long time to achieve stiffly whisked egg whites, so bear with it till you can see the results. Don’t worry you can’t over mix it ;-)! Pipe the meringues on the baking sheet into cloud shapes using large round nozzle or no nozzle at all. Bake in C60 preheated oven for 3-4h. I find the longer the baking the whiter the meringues!Aeroplane themed birthday cake with merengue clouds ¬†3. To make the frosting whisk soft cheese with icing sugar (I like it less sweet so I don’t add much). Gradually mix in the butterfly pea tea till you like the shade.¬†Aeroplane themed birthday cake¬†4. For the plane, cut the wafer finger into aeroplane body shape and small triangle for the fin. Glue the plane using icing sugar and water mixture. Use the cocktail sicks to hold the plane together.Aeroplane themed birthday cake Aeroplane themed birthday cake5. To assemble the cake apply the frosting starting from the top and working your way to the bottom. Arrange the “the clouds” and “the planes” as closer to serving as you can. Sadly, the meringue have a tendency to go soggy.Aeroplane themed birthday cake Aeroplane themed birthday cake Aeroplane themed birthday cake¬†I especially liked the cake. Although it was difficult to apply the frosting due to it being crumbly and moist, I feel it was worth it!Aeroplane themed birthday cakeHope you enjoy it!
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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 ūüėČ
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