If at first you don’t succeed… a thought for caregivers and anyone else who wants a happier life.

I love baking – the joy of weighing and mixing, the satisfaction of creating something from scratch, the pleasure of sharing the end product with friends and family. I’ve written about the benefits I get from baking before so rather than repeating myself, this is about when it goes wrong…

A while back in response to a vegan friend talking about the lack of dessert options I had an idea; I already knew how to make macarons, and I knew that in theory aquafaba (a fancy word for chickpea juice) was a substitute for eggs / egg whites so ta-dah, I could easily make vegan macarons.

I looked up the equivalent amount of aquafaba to egg white (2 tablespoons = 1 egg white in case you wanted to know), measured out the rest of my ingredients and off I went following my normal recipe.

It seemed to work – the mixture looked right all piped into lovely individual rounds on the baking tray as they went into the oven

10 minutes later I peeked in and found what can be described as a molten mess

What had gone wrong? I’d done all the right things, hadn’t I?

Turns out I hadn’t, on two different levels:

- On a specific baking level I hadn’t reduced the aquafaba, which makes it more stable to hold up during cooking

- On a more general level, I hadn’t done enough research about the substitution

So that was a lesson (reminder really!) for me – do more groundwork before diving in.

Having belated done the extra groundwork, I got more aquafaba and set about batch two. They were better, but still not right (sadly, no photos available). So on batch three I made some further tweaks and finally ended up with something that looked and tasted pretty similar to my standard ones.

I’ve also previously written about knowing when to give up, and that’s still important. The differences here are:

- Continuing to try was giving me pleasure and satisfaction

- Nothing else was suffering as result

- I was hopeful that the end product would be worth it

- The relative cost was pretty low

- It still felt “good” and I was getting energised by it

What are your ways to know that something is worth continuing with? As well as the above, my motivation to be able to present my friend with the finished result was a driving force – how do you keep going or try again when things aren’t quite going to plan?

When my in-laws started to need care, I knew how to look after both them and myself – because I’d got it so wrong in the past, when my other half was signed off work with stress and my life was turned upside down too. These blog posts are mostly based on the things that helped me, the lessons I learnt the hard way and what I realise with the benefit of hindsight would have helped. I’ve collected some of the other key learning points and tips and made these available to download at

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