Wednesday December 31

Naamloos

I am aware that this isn’t a real quote, but since it’s the last day of the year I think it’s quite appropriate.
I am not the kind of person who, on the last day of the year, looks back at everything that happened. Well, I probably already forgot a lot and there are also moments you wish you forgot but you don’t and you never will. Such as remembering what it felt like to say goodbye to a friend who left for seven months.

But like I said, I don’t look back and I won’t. I just remember things, but that has nothing to do with the end of the year. You always think about what is happening and what happened before and you keep playing it over and over again in your head. Always, not just on the last day of the year.

I wish I could tell that I hope you all had a wonderful year with just ups and no downs. However, I know it’s impossible to have 365 consecutive wonderful days. But I do hope you enjoyed the ups and learned from the downs.
And I hope you will all celebrate the end of the year surrounded by people you love and enjoy this moment of togetherness. And I really wish you all 365 consecutive wonderful days.

Happy new year!

Australian Idol fireworks above Sydney Opera House

Lots of love,
Laura

Christmas water globe

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Christmas might be over, the Christmas season ain’t over yet. So here’s a little Christmas craft idea: a water globe! You can of course make a water globe which isn’t especially for Christmas. It just depends on the figurine you choose.

The materials you will need to make a water globe are:
– super glue
– a jar with its lid
– a figurine of your choice
– distilled water; do not use tap water, it will make everything you put in the jar rot, which you don’t want to happen!
– one or two tablespoons of glycerin, this will make your glitter fall more slowly (you can buy it in a drugstore or pharmacy)
– glitter
– little stars, you don’t have to put stars in your water globe, but since I had them at home, I decided to use them too
– a ribbon

DSC03309The first step is to glue your figurine to the lid and let it dry long enough. I let it dry a whole night.

DSC03312 - kopieThe next day you can fill the jar with the distilled water, add the glycerin, the glitter and the stars.

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Now put some super glue on the inside of the lid and glue it to the jar. Do not turn over the jar just yet. It has to dry again for about a night.

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The next day you may turn it over into the right position. To complete the water globe I put a ribbon around it.

DSC03325Your water globe is ready! ;-)

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Lots of love,
Laura

Coffee cafe

In my first post, the introduction, I mentioned that I would also write about nice places I discover. And I am very happy to introduce you to a very cosy cafe.

This little magical place is located in Hasselt, in the northeast of Belgium. It’s a nice city with cheerful shopping streets, restaurants, tea rooms and small forgotten paths.

Even though Hasselt counts many tea rooms and coffee corners, there is one I especially like, Coffee cafe.

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It is quite small inside. When you go in, the first thing you’ll see is the counter filled with cake, brownies and the assortment of loose tea that you can also buy, so you can enjoy its deliciousness at home.

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Since it’s Christmas time, this lovely place was even more lovely and magical thanks to the beautiful Christmas decorations. Some may call it a little bit kitsch, but I just love it. Like I said before, it is cosy, warm and you can enjoy delicious coffee, tea, desserts and sandwiches which aren’t expensive at all.

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I went with a friend and here is what we ordered:
a vanilla iced coffee and a latte macchiato, both with whipped cream and oreos, carrot cake and a piece of ‘speculaas’ pie.

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We were very hungry, so we thought we would be able to eat and drink everything without trouble. Well.. we weren’t. Not even in half and we just couldn’t anymore. So we waited some time, ordered some water and managed to continue ;-)
So one advice: choose a dessert with tea or water, or a delicious coffee, latte macchiato, iced coffee or hot chocolate with whipped cream and nothing to eat, since you get a small piece of cake with this and cookies of your choice in the whipped cream.

Don’t hesitate to discover this beautiful place yourself. I’m sure you won’t have any regrets, but… don’t forget my advice!

Lots of love,
Laura


Coffee cafe Hasselt           Coffee cafe Leuven
Badderijstraat 6                  Tiensestraat 18
3500 Hasselt                        3000 Leuven

http://www.coffeecafe.be/

Chocolate cake with raspberry coulis and mini meringues

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Looking for an easy and delicious dessert? Well, I’ve got just the right recipe for you!
The airy chocolate cake marries very well with the raspberries in the coulis.
For me, making the meringues was the hardest part, since it was the very first time I made meringues. I think they looked too much like macarons instead of meringues, but the taste and texture were very good.

Let’s get started!


1) Chocolate cake

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Here is what you need:
– 5 eggs
– 100 gr of butter
– 150 gr of dark chocolate
– 140 gr of sugar
– 1 packet of vanilla sugar
– 50 gr of self-rising flour
– a pinch of salt
– a big bowl
– a beater

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First preheat the oven to 200°C.
Then you’ll have to separate the egg yolks and the whites.
The next step is to melt the chocolate. I do this in the easiest way, in the microwave! While the chocolate is melting you can add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and start beating them. I also do this in the easiest way, with an electric beater. You have to beat until you can hold your bowl upside down.

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When the chocolate has melted, add the butter and put again in the microwave until the butter melted too. Stir the mixture when you take it out of the microwave. Do not melt it at the maximum temperature, chocolate can burn too!

DSC03401Next, add the sugar to the mixture and sieve the flour above the bowl and stir the mixture. Then add the egg yolks and continue stirring. The last ingredient to add to the mixture are the beaten egg whites. Do this carefully and stir with a scraper.
Cover your mold with parchment paper and pour the mixture in it.

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Lower the oven to 180°C and bake for about 50 minutes. While the cake is in the oven, you can start making the coulis.

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2) Raspberry coulis

These are the ingredients you need:
– 200 gr of raspberries (optionally frozen)
– 1/2 lemon
– +/- 2 tablespoons of sugar
– a sieve
– a blender

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If the raspberries are frozen, let them defrost first. Then put them in the blender with the juice of half a lemon and the sugar.

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Now blend it until you get a smooth coulis. At this moment you can taste and add some sugar if you want to.

Next, sieve the coulis to obtain a mixture without seeds.

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It’s ready! You can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days.

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3) Meringues

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The ingredients you need to make meringues are:
– 3 egg whites (75 gr)
– 2 x 45 gr of sugar
– 60 gr of powdered sugar
– a beater

Preheat the oven to 120°C. Start beating the whites. When ready, add the first 45 grams of sugar and continue beating. Then, add the next 45 grams and still continue beating. At last, add the powdered sugar and beat a little. I also added a little bit of pink food coloring.

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The next step is to put the meringue with a piping bag on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. The few times a used a piping bag, the whole kitchen was a mess. Everything was dirty and full of dough, including myself. So this time I just used a spoon.

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Bake the meringues for one hour. Then turn off the oven and let the meringues dry inside. It is very important to not open the oven.

Your meringues are ready!

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Now everything is ready to serve.
Bon appétit!

Lots of love,
Laura

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Wednesday December 24

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. – Norman Vincent Peale
 
I think this is a phrase everyone should keep in mind and tell themselves when needed. Or tell someone else when needed. Everyone should aim to reach the top, everyone should set high objectives. You should never underestimate yourself. Keep going. Believe in your own strength. Do not give up, because you can do more than you think you can. The moment you are thinking of giving up, is mostly the moment when you’ve done so much already you have the feeling you can’t take it anymore. Well, this moment is most of the time also the moment when you’re almost there.
 
Even if ‘there’ isn’t the high objective you’ve set, even if ‘there’ isn’t the moon, ‘you’ll land among the stars’. You’ll end up pretty high. Have faith in your own abilities. And when you notice someone doesn’t, encourage them to reach whatever they are reaching for and encourage them to believe in themselves. Everyone deserves to be encouraged, to be believed in, because everyone is able to reach something. Nothing is impossible. Don’t give up and believe in yourself.
 
Lots of love,
Laura
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Homemade Christmas wreath

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Santa Claus is coming to town!
And so are Christmas trees and decorations. You can find them everywhere, in every shape, size and color.
But… you can also make some decorations yourself! It is original and your decoration will be unique. I made a Christmas wreath. It takes some time, but it ain’t very difficult and I really like the result.

This what you need to make a wreath:
– Branches from a pine tree. I cut mine from the trees in my garden. If you don’t have a garden or pine trees in your garden, you can just go for a walk in the woods or a park and you will certainly find a pine tree. Don’t forget to take your secateurs with you.
– A pair of scissors.
– A wreath in styrofoam.
– Head pins, the ones without the colored head :-)

DSC03329The first step is to cut off the smaller branches. These are the ones you will use to make the wreath. Next, attach the small branches to the styrofoam by using the head pins. Cover the entire styrofoam wreath with the branches. I didn’t cover the back of the wreath. No one can see the backside when you hang it ;-)

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Now it’s time to decorate. You can actually use whatever you want or like. You can spray paint on it, put baubles on it, decorate it with cinnamon sticks and dried mandarin slices, …

Here are the materials I used to decorate my Christmas wreath.

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I decided to wrap a ribbon around it and at the back of the wreath I attached little silver baubles to the ribbon. Don’t forget to attach a ribbon at the top so you can hang it.

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Then I put on glitters and little stars. First put glue on the branches with a paintbrush. Then sprinkle the glitters and the stars over the Christmas wreath.

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Your Christmas wreath is ready to hang on the door!DSC03355

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You should really try it! It’s fun to make and it looks beautiful.

Lots of love,
Laura

Wednesday December 17

Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in everyday
– Alice Morse Earle

This is a quote I really like. Everyone has a bad day from time to time. It usually starts when your alarm goes off in the morning and you really don’t want to get up. You finally do get up and go to work, the train is cram-full, it starts raining, you didn’t save the document you worked on for hours, …

But suddenly someone compliments you on your shoes or your blouse, or you walk by a chocolaterie, decide to go in and buy the best pralines you ever
had, … having a good laugh, or you walk into a friend you hadn’t seen for way too long, you get home where you can settle down on the sofa in the arms of the one you love, …

These are the little things that can make your day, even though they may fade next to everything that happens in a day. But we have to take the time to appreciate these little moments, because these are the ones that make us happy, these are the ones that make us realize what we love about life, who we love in this life.
These are the moments we need to cherish.

So, take the time to enjoy and cherish these moments, and do this every day.

Lots of love,
Laura

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Vase made from a wine bottle

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I wrote in my introduction that I would take up a project once a week. Well, this week I took up another project. It is so easy and fast, it doesn’t even take five minutes. And the result is great!

All you need are a wine bottle and a paint sprayer in a color you like. I chose golden paint.

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Now, follow the instructions on the sprayer and spray the paint on the bottle.
Let it dry long enough and don’t forget to do this outside.

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And it’s ready!
When you put a flower in the vase, it would be better to use a water tube. If you put water in the vase, you will have to wash it afterwards and I can’t guarantee that the paint won’t come off.

Have fun!!

Lots of love,
Laura

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Paperclip necklace

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I am very excited to post my very first craft project, which is also my first real adventure.
It is actually very easy to do, it’s pretty and not at all expensive.
You can make it for yourself or as a gift for someone.
Christmas is coming closer, and it’s never too early to brainstorm about gifts!

Here is what you need:
– Paperclips
– Scissors
– Washi tape in the colors you like – Or glitter tape
– In case you use glitter tape, you’ll also need some scotch tape because glitter tape doesn’t stick as well as washi tape.

DSC03267You can choose how many layers you add to your necklace. I chose three.
So the first step is to make three paperclip chains, I used respectively 19, 17 and 15 paperclips. And a little one of ten paperclips so you can put the necklace around your neck.

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Then, I chose three different colors of glitter tape: dark grey, silver and pink.
Now it’s time to put some tape around the paperclips. Don’t use too much. I used pieces of +/- two centimeters. Since glitter tape doesn’t stick well, I also put some scotch tape around the glitter tape. Do this for every paperclip chain.

DSC03273 DSC03275 DSC03276Take two paperclips and put the ends of the three chains in one paperclip. Do this for the two ends. Then also put the ends of the smallest chain on those two paperclips.

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And it’s ready to wear!

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Don’t hesitate to try it yourself!

Lots of love,
Laura

Wednesday December 10

Be okay with not knowing for sure what might come next, but know that whatever it is you will be okay

I chose this quote to share with you today, because this is something I have to tell myself from time to time. I like to organize and knowing what will happen next. I like to prepare every little thing in advance so that everything can just go quietly its way. I have to admit that things almost never go as planned. The train arrives too late, you forget your keys or phone, someone can’t make it on time due to traffic,… And unfortunately, you can’t always have a plan B.

I learned to live with the idea that I cannot plan everything everyday, and things do turn out okay. Even if I get home two hours later or even if I have to wait for more than an hour because I missed my train. It is as it is. And I have to say that it is easy to stress about insignificant things and sometimes I still do. But life is much easier when you don’t. You will be happier without worrying about things that are not worth it.

So I am still learning to let it go and I think it will be a never-ending learning process but I am happy to tell you that I am definitely learning… while keeping that little phrase in my mind.

What do you think about this?

Lots of love,
Laura

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