06 April 2015

Vegan marbled cupcakes

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I made these marbled cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World back in October. I didn't do a great job with the marbling, but they were still delicious and I ate more than my fair share. The icing was a unique concoction made by adding ingredients to some leftover icing I had in the fridge. I love how the piping turned out. I'd never tried this technique before and it was very easy but looked so good.

30 March 2015

Loving lately #5

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1. Taking the dogs to the beach.
We've been taking our dogs to the beach more often lately and they love all the new scents. I always see the ocean as the destination for our walk, but they don't care and are happy to walk around anywhere. We don't have time to do it as often as we'd like, but it's a much nicer experience than the same old route we always take.

I love this show. I really like that the characters mostly aren't likeable and say stupid things and make bad decisions. I don't think I would want to be friends with any of them, but that's what makes it entertaining.

3. Blackout curtains
We've talked about getting blackout curtains for years and we finally invested in some last month. It was one of the best decisions we've ever made. We often stay up late working and being able to sleep late the next day is wonderful. Apart from keeping our room dark, the curtains are also better quality than our previous ones and look much better.

4. Mangoes
Mangoes are my absolute favourite fruit and they've been in season the last few months. They're starting to get more scarce and expensive again so we're savouring the last few weeks of mangoes.

27 March 2015

Blog update

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Photo by Dominik Martin

I had no idea how long it's been since my last post until I started writing this. I knew I was a bit behind, but when I checked the last post I was sure something had gone wrong with the date settings. I mentioned on Facebook last week that I had recovered from my cold and would be back soon. That didn't happen.

But I'm back and I even changed my blog design. I've been helping Martinus with some things and discovered that there are so many beautiful free blog templates. I found a few I loved, but when I tested them they all had little problems that I couldn't solve. I ended up with this pretty template and after a bit of adjustment it's exactly what I wanted. My knowledge of html code is very limited, but I'm good at looking things up and not afraid of trying out something I know nothing about. You can always use the "undo" function. :)

I'm planning a clearance sale for my Etsy shop because I don't have time to sew anymore now that we've started Terrapin and Toad. In fact I haven't sewn a new bag in two years and I still have many stored in my studio. I'm hoping I'll find some time for personal sewing projects in the future though.

I want to keep writing, but I have some chores to finish up so hopefully I will (really) be back with a new post next week.

Have a wonderful weekend.

09 March 2015

Victorian Garden Rejuvenating Eye Tissue Serum Review

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At the start of last winter I realised that I needed a new eye cream. My regular eye cream wasn't moisturising enough and the skin under my eyes felt very dry. I tried a few different creams before I bought this serum. The Victorian Garden is one of my favourite brands and I've never been disappointed with any of their products. I've been using this serum for 11 months now, so I can really vouch for it.

The packaging is very simple and you might not expect much, but it's a wonderful product. It contains jojoba wax, hazelnut oil, carrot seed oil, evening primrose oil, lavender flower oil, lemon oil, rosewood oil and vitamin E. As you can imagine, it smells amazing. It's nourishing and leaves my skin smooth and comfortable. This little bottle only costs R50 and lasts for ages. I still have enough for at least two months left.

Because this is an oil and takes a while to be absorbed, I only use it at night. My skin always feels comfortable the next day and one application a day is enough for me. I read once that eye cream shouldn't be applied right up to your eye because it will travel and get into your eyes. This had never happened to me before, but I do need to leave a little gap between my eyes and this serum because it spreads out and got into my eyes the first few times I used it. It didn't burn, but my vision was slightly blurry for a few minutes.

The weather is starting to cool down again, so if you're looking for a moisturising eye cream, try this serum.

I bought mine on Faithful to Nature.

06 March 2015

Carob Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge

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This fudge recipe is so easy to make and so addictive that you might wish you'd never discovered it. But it's worth it because it's absolutely delicious.

I'd never tried carob before a few years ago and that was a disappointment. I'd always heard carob described as a chocolate alternative and the carob cake I tried tasted fruity and nothing at all like chocolate. I only tried carob again when I made this fudge and fell in love. I was surprised that it was quite chocolatey, but a lighter fruitier version than what you get from cacao powder. It's also naturally sweet so perfect when you want to use less sugar. There's a bit of cocoa in the fudge too so you get a great complex chocolate flavour.

I used peanut butter instead of almond butter because it's more affordable and the best chocolate combination in my opinion. I think any crunchy cereal would work in this. I used something called Organix Choco Balls that I can't find anymore. It doesn't have enough flavour for me as cereal, but it's perfect in this fudge. I doubled the cereal to make the fudge go further.

I just couldn't stop eating it and after writing this post I'm going to make another batch.

05 March 2015

HappyCow's app: The answer to the vegan’s prayers

I first heard about HappyCow during our Thailand vacation. We accidentally found a vegan restaurant and the owner asked if we'd found them through HappyCow. It's a wonderful site that helps you find vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Unfortunately many cities in South Africa don't have any listings yet, but I have started submitting restaurants I find great food at to help out travellers. HappyCow now also has an app which makes it even easier to find a place to eat while travelling. I already have the app on my Android phone and I have a guest, Delia Ball, to tell you more about it.

More about Delia: Delia has been cooking at home for her family as far back as she can remember. Although she now has a hectic working schedule, that doesn't stop her from dedicating her weekends to improving her culinary skills, in particular baking. When not cooking or working, Delia enjoys reading and practising yoga.

Veganism is an ethical, sustainable, and healthy lifestyle to adopt, but it’s definitely not the easiest. Vegans have to face everyday struggles, such as reading labels for grocery items, expanding one’s repertoire of vegan recipes, and dining out with others that don’t share the same eating habits. The disadvantages of being a vegan, and even a vegetarian, often deter people away from the meat-free lifestyle.

But common issues, such as figuring out which establishments to eat at, no longer trouble the vegan, thanks to health fanatics that are fueling growth in health app development. The increased adoption of smartphone usage is facilitated by growing internet capabilities, as told by GamingRealms, the mastermind behind mobile casino PocketFruity. Expansion in mobile internet is triggered by new functions in smartphones, particularly ones related to health. According to Flurry, growth in health and fitness apps is 87 percent faster than the mobile app industry itself. These health apps range from exercise and weight loss apps, to restaurant locators for vegans and vegetarians.

One app that would be particularly useful for the vegan looking to have a meal out is HappyCow’s Veg Travel Guide for Vegans & Vegetarians. An app developed by a company dedicated to finding vegan, vegetarian, and other healthy options for travelers, this is a great resource for anyone traveling to a new city, or simply trying to find a vegan restaurant within the neighborhood.

Veg Travel Guide contains many useful features that are guaranteed to minimize the number of challenges that vegans have in their daily lives. It includes an interactive map, with numerous search options that will easily filter your dining choices, and even save favourites. Popular searches can be found on the quick browse mode. For those exploring a new city, travelers can pre-plan which restaurants they can eat at. Additionally, diners can submit pictures and reviews of the establishments they dined at, so they can share their advice to the rest of the HappyCow online community.

This app received 4.5 stars in the iTunes App Store. For just $2.99, you can download the app onto your iPhone, iPad, or your iPod Touch.

I hope this article was helpful and will benefit you on your travels.

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