Hi! Perhaps you might be wondering how the roses planted on April Fools Day are getting by. If you remember, I wrote a post on planting bare root David Austin and historic old rose varieties that I ordered from Holland. Looking back, I am willing to admit that I may have gone a little bit overboard when I ordered 36 bare root roses, but I do not regret it whatsoever. Honestly, my collection has expanded even further, for I can’t resist buying at least one rose whenever I visit the garden shop in the area. To say the very least, I have truly become obsessed in the best possible way. Anyway, I am very happy to report that all the planted roses have survived and while some are doing better than others, The Alnwick Castle Rose has taken the spotlight. It has turned out to be an incredible rose with the prettiest of blooms, definitely the prettiest I have seen so far. Compared to the rest of the roses, it has been showing off really mature looking blooms which are perfectly formed and not a petal is misplaced. The rest of the rose bushes are understandably taking their time, but I can’t help feeling an instant connection with the David Austin Alnwick Castle Rose. The rose bush itself is incredibly healthy looking and has branched out considerably. Although it’s on the smaller side compared to the rest (about 60m high), it has about 10 times as many buds on it.

The Alnwick Castle David Austin Rose

The Alnwick Castle Rose

The Alnwick Rose from David Austin [Continue Reading…]

Hi! You have no idea how excited I am to share today’s post with you. Every time I’ve had a masala chai, the idea of creating an orange and chocolate cheesecake infused with some of my favorite spices, especially cardamom popped into my mind. The idea has been brewing since winter time and I originally thought I’d be making a baked cheesecake, but with the temperatures soaring in the high 30s, there is no way I want to get anywhere near an oven. For this very reason, I decided to create a chilled and light cheesecake which will still be decadent enough to satisfy any chocolate sweet tooth you may have. That’s exactly how it turned out!

Cardamon, Orange and Chocolate Chesecake Recipe

[Continue Reading…]

Hi! Ever since I saw the ”Enchanted” lookbook created by Design Sponge and Ruche in which paper was used to create a beautiful garden photo shoot set full of oversized flowers, I have dreamed of having a go at trying to make some DIY paper flowers. In any case, it really got me thinking about how absolutely stunning paper flowers can be and I searched the internet to find out more about the art of making them and the creators behind them. Hope you enjoy the post!

Oversized Paper Flowers for Ruche spring lookbook- would make awesome DIY

Isn’t this absolutely stunning? (photo from Design Sponge, go check out the post for behind the scenes pictures and DIY instructions)

Crepe Bouquet Tutorial from Craftberry Bush

For starters, why not check out this Craftyberry Bush paper flower arrangement and tutorial with step by step photos- can you even tell which of the flowers in the vase are fake?

To put things into perspective, imagine you favorite blooms 36” in diameter… wouldn’t that be awesome? If you ever wondered what roaming through a garden full of oversized flowers would be like, head on to check out San Francisco based artist/architect combo Tiffanie Turner and also check out her instagram while you’re at it. (all photos are from Tiffanie’s beautiful website)

Livia Cetti, the creator behind The Green Vase,  is a talented floral designer who has even written some books on the art of creating paper flowers. One of them includes instruction for 27 different kinds! Sounds like a DIY challenge in the making…(all photos are from the website and may not even be of paper flowers for her creations look so realistic, visit it to check it out)

I hope you enjoyed the post and let me know your thought on the floral paper beauties? Have you tried making any?

Hi! It has been a  little over a year since I tried propagating succulents. I didn’t put much faith into the process, but the results are overwhelming. Instead of a few torn off leaves, I now have a crowded pot of succulents waiting to be transplanted. First of all, let me say that this post will only offer tips on propagating succulents from cuttings and leaves. Not all succulents can be propagated this way, but it is worth experimenting and seeing how they do. The easiest succulents to propagate via leaves are different kinds of Echeverias.

succulent propagation 1 year update- results 1. Getting  your Cutting

When using leaves to propagate succulents, you need to select a healthy leaf of any size. I personally go for the ones near the base of the plant. To start, you need to pull the leaf gently off of the stem. For the leaf to root, it needs to have a nice half moon edge and no jagged edges or rips in it. The edge needs to also include a bit of the stem tissue, or it will start to rot. For taking the cutting, I just take the leaf between my fingers and gently tear it off the stem in a downwards motion. If you decide to use a cutting tool make sure it is clean so you do not infect the wound.

2. Planting Procedure

Before you actually start planting your succulent leaves or cuttings, leave them placed on a plate for 2 days to help dehydrate them a little bit (this will help with the rooting process). After the leaf isn’t as firm as it used to be you can plant it. There are two ways you can go about doing so. One is placing the leaf on the soil without the end actually being submerged. The leaf will start creating air roots and eventually make its way into the soil. The method that I found worked even better, was to gently push the end of the leaf at a diagonal about 3 mm into the loose soil.

propagating succulents

3. Looking After the Planted Succulents

Place your pot on a sunny windowsill. I recommend avoiding one with full sun for most of the day, or else you’ll have to constantly make sure that the soil is moist. Although we are speaking of succulents, you want to make sure that the soil is moist at all times during the rooting process. Use a spray bottle for watering, as it will not erode the soil and disturb the tiny emerging roots. In about a months time, you should be able to see roots and new leaves.

Succulent propagation 3 month update


This picture is taken only 3 months after starting the propagation process. Check out those roots!

Have fun and let me know if it works for you!

Italian recipes are the real deal when it comes to summer cooking. At least that’s the way I feel and pesto has become one of my favorite recipes to turn to when I long for a hearty pasta dish. As I almost never have pine nuts on hand, I learned to substitute them for ingredients available right from the garden. Instead of pine nuts, I love using a combination of hazelnuts and sunflower seeds, it does the trick and makes for an absolutely delicious pesto!

Hazelnut Basil Pesto Recipe Pine nuts have just the right amount of sweet and oily for them to work really well in pesto. As a substitute, I’ve tried using walnuts, cashews and almost every nut out there, but nothing came close to the heavenly combination of hazelnuts and sunflower seeds. Now, it definitely is not an exact match for pine nuts, but the combination is amazing and may trump the original ingredient because of the extra flavor! It is just the right amount of oily from the sunflower seeds and the hazelnuts add such an amazing flavor that they’ll make you never again think of pine nuts.

Hazelnut and Basil Pesto Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Delicious pesto made with hazelnuts and sunflower seeds instead of the traditionally used pine nuts.
Recipe type: Pesto, Dressing
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 1 cup
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil
  • ½ cup hazelnuts ( can be toasted for extra sweetness or left raw)
  • small fistful of sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • salt to taste (just enough to bring out the flavors)
  1. To toast hazelnuts: add them to a small dry frying pan on medium heat for a few minutes, then rub their skins off with a kitchen towel. Do not worry if you don't manage to remove all of the brown skin and toss them into the food processor.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients into the processor and pulse until they all come together and are finely chopped. Leave tiny little hazelnut pieces for a bit of extra crunch, but pulse some more if you are looking for a smooth sauce.
Serving tip: add a couple of tablespoons of water into the food processor. Another option is to use an Italian trick and actually add a bit of the pasta cooking water to the sauce when serving. It dilutes the concentrated pesto and also helps it stick to your pasta. Grate the parmesan cheese before serving.


A lot of you might be wondering if 1/4 cup of olive oil will be enough and to really combine all the ingredients… it’s not. That’s why I  also add a couple of tablespoons of water in the food processor. Another option is to use an Italian trick and actually add a bit of the pasta cooking water to the sauce when serving. It dilutes the concentrated pesto and also helps it stick to your pasta.

Hazelnut and Basil Pesto

You may have noticed that I did not add any cheese into the mix. You can, of course, do this, but for some reason I love grating it when serving the pasta plate. The parmesan retains its sharp taste and when grated on immediately prior to consumption you can enjoy it a little more. It also comes in handy if there’s anybody who is lactose intolerant and sadly needs to omit the cheese. Hope you enjoy the recipe! Let me know it you think the hazelnuts and sunflower seeds are a good substitute for pine nuts.

Hazelnut and Basil Pesto Recipe