FINALLY PAINTING AGAIN

Good evening beautiful souls,

I’ve had the best day today!

A while ago my dad and I agreed that I could use the upstairs room in his cafe as my art studio so that on the days where I’m only working half days can come in for the full day but get some artwork done too. This morning I finally set up my little studio space and it felt great to have somewhere to work again.

Uni really knocked all my painting confidence out of me so it’s taken a good 2 years for me to even pick up a paintbrush again, but today I finally started a painting and it’s left the biggest smile on my face.

Here’s what I was working on today. Sometimes I almost want to leave paintings in their rough unfinished stages because I rather like the look of the loose brush strokes but I need to show myself that I still have the ability to paint and thus I will be finishing this painting over many sessions I am sure.

Love Carina xo

VEGAN MERINGUES

Good evening beautiful souls,

If you follow me on Instagram (@simplycarinaxo) you will already know that I made vegan meringues the other day!!

If you’re a meringue fan but are like myself a vegan and can’t eat eggs or are allergic to eggs or even just fancy trying something new, then this recipe is for you.

I’ll warn you in advance, although easy it takes almost 3hs to make these meringues, but they are super tasty and so it’s totally worth it!

Now you might be wondering how on earth you can make vegan meringues when one of the main ingredients is egg white. Well I’d heard ages ago that chickpea brine could apparently be used as an egg white replacement and so when I stumbled across this recipe I was eager to test it.

I was a bit skeptic at first but apart from turning out somewhat hollow and crisp rather than chewy, they were very tasty!!

If you’re not drooling already at the thought of a meringue dessert then here’s the recipe for you to test yourself :

Makes 6-8 meringues

  • 400 g can of chickpeas which should yield
  • 100g of aquafaba (brine)
  • 110g of caster sugar
  • Vanilla seeds

Whisk the aquafaba at high speed until stiff white peaks are formed; this will take about 15-20 minutes.

Mix the vanilla seeds into the sugar before adding the mixture to the aquafaba a couple of spoonfuls at a time, making sure the sugar is whisked in properly before adding the next few spoonfuls.

When all the sugar is mixed in and the meringue is thick and glossy, it is ready.

Preheat the oven at 130 degrees centigrade and line two baking trays with grease proof paper.

Spoon the mixture (I’d say a large heaped tbsp) onto the baking tray well apart as the will grow quite a bit.

Now bake for 1 3/4 – 2 hours until the meringues are fairly firm unto and on the base. Take out of oven and leave to cool completely.

Once cool, you can enjoy this delicious treat however you like. I suggest some vegan vanilla ice cream and a fruit compote or fresh berries!

Now enjoy!

If you give these a go do let me know how they turn out!!

Love Carina xo

GARDEN PROJECT BEGINNINGS

Good evening beautiful souls,

I’ve had a busy day at work today and when I got home I decided to make the most of the last rays of sun and do some gardening. I can’t wait to have the garden looking all nice, but it’s going to be a long process till it’s where I want to be. I just bought some vegetable seeds and am excited to get planting however I need to prepare the soil first in our first vegetable patch and then build another raised vegetable patch too.

Anyway, there’s not much to be seen yet I guess, the changes are subtle, but I wanted to share the progress on mine and Jessica’s garden project so far. Here’s the before and afters:

Apart from the addition of a tomato and pepper plant there’s not much of a difference here yet. But the plan is to paint this shelf green and the remove every second shelf to make more room for tall plants. Next I also want to plant flowers or maybe more herbs in the little baskets next to the stairs; I’m not sure yet. It’s a bit broken and was left in the garden from the previous owner of this house, but with a bit of sprucing up I think it’ll look great.

In our bin area we just swept the ground and cleared it of all the small rubbish that was left from the house renovation before we moved in. However there are, as you can see, still some old blind rails and the like which need to go to the tip and as neither Jessica or I can drive we’re going to have to wait till someone can get rid of them for us. The plan for this are is to rid it of everything bar the bins and then add a little greenhouse in the right hand corner.

Again this area doesn’t look nice yet, or as if much has been done, but de-weeded the soil and I loosened it before adding the slab stones at the back instead of the array of uneven stones. This will be our salad patch probably.

Lastly, I moved the bird table onto the pebbled area and put the tree pot in another place too. The plan for this area is to build another raised vegetable patch where our little potted rhubarb plant is now standing.

So as you can see, we’ve only started with little improvements so far, but I am so excited for when it will all be finished because I think it will look really nice. Hopefully we can paint the fences again and power wash the pavement to really give the finished look a nice fresh clean touch.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our garden plans. I shall be keeping you updated!

Has anyone else got any big garden projects planned this year?! I’d love to know!

Love Carina xo

MY FAVOURITE LOW SUGAR COCKTAIL

Good evening beautiful souls,

Now that the weather finally seems to be improving I’ve been feeling the cocktail vibes more and more and am ditching the red wines. However as summer and bikini season are approaching I thought I’d share with you my favourite low sugar cocktail so that you can still enjoy a drink without worrying about your waistline too much.

I’m not sure what to call it yet, maybe Bitter Breeze or something…

Well here it goes. You will need:

  • A lime
  • Gin
  • Diet bitterlemon
  • Fresh mint
  • Ice cubes

First pop your ice cubes into your glass – next add to your strength liking gin and bitterlemon (for this glass I used 2 shots of Bombay Dry Gin with ca. 300ml of bitterlemon) – squeeze in half a lime – decorate with another slice of lime and fresh mint.

Et voila – one Bitter Breeze at the ready – now sit back, relax and enjoy!

Love Carina xo