26 Nov 2016

Love thy drill

Here is what I did one day, a few moths ago with some salvaged wood from the broken slats of my kids bunk bed and a drill that a girlfriend had lent me. 

Maybe it was beginners luck but it did take only 10 min. That's all. Admittedly I took 6 of the slats to a local wood company and they cut them in half so I used the halves for the sides of my box. The caster wheels where given to me by said friend and all I had to purchase was a cylinder wood rod for the top and two long pieces for wood to construct the bit where the clothes are hanged.

Needless to say it is loved by my little ones and so well used that it is currently overflowing with all sorts of dressing up stuff and accessories.

I loved working with wood so much that I made a quick tent too. It didn't survive after it was taken to the garden but the kids loved it.

Have a great weekend!

Irina xx

14 Nov 2016

What to do with kids in London

Visit the National Gallery

Almost every weekend we venture into London and love exploring museums, often wondering around until the announcement that "this place will be closing in 15 minutes". Lovely son has finally reached an age where he is interested in things and doesn't just charge through the museum halls like a mad bull.

So another Sunday and another trip to London. And after spending two days in a row recently at the Science Museum we decided to go and look at some art. So the National Gallery was an easy choice although next time we plan to visit Tate Britain.

So when parents tell me that their kids would not have the attention and patience to wonder through the National Gallery halls I disagree. And here a few of my tips for your first visit. And trust me you won't be able so see even one tenth on your first visit. you need to be back again and again and again.


Let them run around and explore.

Let them lead you.

Lead them.

Stop in front of a famous painting and read out the name of the artist.

Ask if they've heard the name before.

Ask them to describe what they see.

Talk about the colours they see.

Join a kids activity.

Make a sketch.

Follow a trail through the museum.

Ask which one is the biggest painting.

Go to see Whistlejacket and ask them what is different about this paining.

Stand in the Rotonda room and look up to admire the beautiful architecture and gold leaf details.

Look for the dent in the floor in Hall 29. Ask why is it there.

Find out what happened to the paintings during the bombings of WWII. Where were they taken?

Look for the only painting that is not rectangular. Find out what style it is.

Use your own words to explain still life. Landscape. Portrait.

Look at your kids faces when they see "Two followers of Cadmus devoured by a Dragon" by Cornelius von Harlem.

Find "Saint George and the Dragon" by Uccello and tell them the story of Saint George.

Search for the "Sunflowers".

See if you can spot a tiger. Think Henry Rousseau.

And if you can't escape without getting something from the gift shop than opt for an art book. Or just a book. Any book.

Yes it is as simple as that. Please do go and explore London. It's an incredible city, an amazing place to be raising kids. Let them leave their mark.

Have a great Monday!


9 Nov 2016

Oh boy! What a year...

My last post was welcoming the New Year full of hope and positive emotions for the 2016. But what a year it has been. First Brexit and now Trump. Can't stop questioning the world, can't help but being afraid about the world. And no, I was neither with her, nor with him. And in a way I feel relieved that I didn't have to make this mad choice. History will judge this one day. My eight year old who tried to explain to me how bad it is to be sexist and racist will judge this. My four year old, who didn't understand what is happening, sensed that the only appropriate emotion is "Yuk". He will judge this one day. I wish I knew why people thought they had so little to loose.

And here it is! The face of innocence. Oblivious that overnight the world changed.

Irina xx

31 Dec 2015

Happy New Year

Good bye 2015! You were good to us and I am grateful for that. Now armed with more that one New Year's resolutions I am looking forward to a new year, to a new start, to new adventures and new memories.

Here are some of our best moments of 2015.  

Add caption 

Welcome 2016!

Irina xx

13 Nov 2013

Looking For The Cake Pop Stars

{a competition}

Yes I know...another cooking post. But is it is actually an entry to a cake pop competition, so I guess that's a bit of an excuse. Besides I had the best intention to sew something so I promise something interesting very soon.

So back to the competition. Cake pops have slowly been making an appearance here in Germany and I made my first cake pops last year for Halloween but at that time I couldn't find cake pop sticks or suitable decoration so had to order them from the US.That has all changed now...

One of the shops that joined in the cake pop craze is Strauss Innovation. A nice shop whose product range changes about once a month and one is sure to find everything from colorful piknick plates and baskets to cute Christmas decoration, from sweet cupcake boxes to girlie polka dot bed linens. So I often go there but I didn't see the competition leaflet. The mum of Lovely Kindergarten Best Friend passed it on and so I decided to give the competition my best shot.

And yes there is a price, and yes, I hope I'll win one of 10 duck blue "kitchen aid" look-a-likes.

And since Cristmas is only six weeks away...yes...six weeks...I though that Christmas cake pops are completely in order.


As always the internet was full of inspiration.

Do you like one of the cake pops more the rest?
My favorite are the ginger bread houses. They are completely my own creation and look so cute.

SO, fingers crossed! I'll let you know how the competition goes.

Have a nice evening!

Irina xx

4 Nov 2013

Belated Halloween

{ has it really been so long}

My dearest readers, I can't quite believe that it has been six months since my last post. Of course I made things over the past months (I would have gone crazy if I didn't) but some how I didn't find the time to blog.
I am planning a post to show you how the past few months have been but in the mean time here are some photos from our little Halloween party last week. It was so much fun making everything...the witch's fingers were my absolute favorite.

Witch's broom sticks and witch's fingers- everyone loved them! I followed this really easy tutorial and they turned out so realistic plus they had the added benefit of actually being cookies. The red dye was my addition (simply dilute some red food color in a little bit of water and use a paint brush to make the blood splatters) It definitely added to the effect.
For the brooms I used cheese strings which was much easier than the tutorials I found on Pinterest.

We couldn't skip the cake pops following last years Cake Pop Halloween Party so they seem to become a bit of party tradition in our home. I always use Dr Oetker's Chocolate Cake Mix and they are delicious every time plus I dip them in white chocolate so they were more like double chocolate cake pops.  They are sprinkled with black and orange sugar which I got in a little package from Lovely Mum.

Yes, Lovely Little Son has grown up quite a bit. He definitely helped making sure there are no Dragon's Nails ( aka Buggles) left.

Although a bit cheesy in my opinion, this bowl proved a great hit with the kids. It not only slapped your hand when you tried to get a sweetie but it also gave out a scary growl.  No wonder a few packs of sweets remained untouched...

Mummy sausages - they tasted yum and were really easy to make but I am not sure the kids really knew what a mummy was...maybe next year.

Some girlie scull cookies which no question tasted delicious but were a bit time consuming. I know that blogland is filled with beautiful cookies and informative tutorials, but despite the Royal Icing Sugar which a lovely friend bought back from the UK ( thank you!) I just couldn't get it right. Hours of you tube video watching also didn't help...the consistency of my icing was nothing like those videos showed. Yes, I know you can't tell (unless you are LilaLoa) but after the seventh cookie I just gave up. But the eye lashes and the orange bow were real fun to make.

Hope you are all having a great week!

Irina xx

18 Apr 2013

French Macarons

{who doesn't fancy a little challenge}

"Oh no" you'll say "another baking post, what is wrong with that woman". I am looking for sewing inspiration, I promise, but at the moment I find my therapy in trying out various yummy, undeniably fatty but never the less relaxing to make little sweet treats. 

French macarons have been on my To Bake list for ages. I have seen countless you tube videos and even had a dream of making them, so I knew I had to try. So when I came across a fabulous food blog called Love and Olive Oil  - check it out it has some amazing recipes and food photos, I decided to join the monthly challenge which was...you guessed it...macarons.

Two macarons attempts later I finally ended up with the most delicious Nutela filled macarons. As a complete baking geek I sat in front of the oven looking as the little meringue circles created little domes, and kept peeking through the glass door as I couldn't see any feet. No feet, no macarons. Halleluiah, 20 min later and they were ready...the sweetest, but no too sweet and chewiest, but not to chewy and absolutely delicious macarons. They were maybe a bit too big but never the less I was ecstatic. Pastry chefs all over the world go to baking classes to learn to make those famous macarons and there was me, in my tiny kitchen in Frankfurt enjoying self made macrons. OK, I did eat one or five two but they undeniably tasted better the next day.

So the verdict :
-  macarons are not hard to make. Notice, I didn't say they were easy, I just don't think they are hard to make.
- know your stuff - read a few tutorials, watch a few videos and although I personally didn't age my egg whites I do believe that there are certain little tricks to help you succeed.
- learn to make a good filling - the flavor of macarons comes from the filling. There are some great ideas on the internet and I quite liked one which used the egg yolks to make vanilla cream.
- don't be scared, you only need three ingredients so it can't be that tricky, right. And although they are famously known as macarons their other name is cookies. See it doesn't sound so scary any more, anyone can make cookies. So face your fears and if you don't succeed the first time than try again.

If you think you would like to try making your own French macarons than check out these great blog posts which will help you in your "perfect macaron quest". They certainly make for a good reading and provided me with the knowledge I needed to make those delicious little treats.

Love and Olive Oil has some great links at the bottom of the post - link here.
I used a simple recipe from Bake at 350 - link here. There you'll also find links to some great posts by the Brave Tart well worth the read if you want to know all about macarons.

Hope you are having a great week and enjoying the late arrival of Spring. Enjoy the sunshine.


P.S. I almost forgot...here is my first attempt. They were pink, yay... but too fragile.