Our Monthly Journal
We're so excited to share another monthly journal written by the lovely Lola Jones, also known as @pocketfullofbuttercups on Instagram. Lola is a wonderful photographer and all round creator of beautiful content, raising her twin daughters Maya and Chloe & her baby Thea from her house near the Peak District. Each month she will give us a small glimpse into her world, inspiring you with activity ideas, recipes and more.
This month’s journal is all about delicious summer and everything that it offers. With the school year all done and dusted, we can finally enjoy these long warm days without any routine or agenda. If you are stuck for ideas to entertain your little ones, here are a few that you could try.
Help your little ones set up a DIY outdoor play tent in your garden or a local meadow for hours of imaginary play. Go fruit picking at your local farm for a fun day out and the next day make something yummy with whatever you picked. See our super easy raspberry jam recipe in this month’s journal. I am also sharing my go-to homemade scones recipe.
As always we hope that you enjoy this month’s inspiration. Should you decide to have a go at any activities, we would really love to see them. Please tag us #inspiredbynelliequats
EASY HOMEMADE RASPBERRY JAM
We visited our local pick-your-own farm recently to pick strawberries, but there were lots more fruits available and so we decided to stop by their raspberry patch too and ended up with two large punnets full, which we decided to turn into homemade jam.
You will need:
- 500g fresh raspberries
- 400g jam sugar
- Freshly grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Put the raspberries in a large saucepan and heat gently until they soften slightly. Press the berries gently to break them up a little. Stir in the sugar, zest and juice. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Bring the mixture to the boil and cook for about 6 minutes until the setting point is reached. You can test if the jam is ready by placing some of the mixture on a small plate then chilling for 2 minutes. The surface should wrinkle when pushed with a finger. Boil the jam a little longer if necessary.
Ladle the jam into sterilised jars, cover with lid and store in the fridge.
DIY OUTDOOR PLAY TENT
We love building tents and dens at home on rainy days. The girls get cosy and read books, tell stories and play all sorts of games. It is a great thing to transfer outdoors too. We brought a picnic along and spent a few hours playing in the meadow nipping in and out of the tent. You are sure to have everything for this activity at home, so no investment required.
You will need:
- Bed sheet or a large piece of fabric
- Strong string
- Pegs (optional)
- Sticks or rocks
We set our tent up by attaching a string to a tree branch and then threw a long piece of fabric over it, fixing it at both ends with more string or pegs so it stays put and doesn’t slide down to the middle and gather.
We also used four sticks to fix the fabric to the ground at four ends (you can also use large rocks to hold it in place).
Throw a blanket inside your tent, cushions or whatever you want - to make it cosy. And you have yourself a perfect reading nook, princess castle, etc - the world is your oyster.
DELICIOUS HOMEMADE SCONES
I cannot imagine summer without homemade scones, can you? I have been using this foolproof recipe for over 10 years and it is honestly the easiest bake. My girls love getting involved and the whole process only takes about 20 mins from start to finish.
- 350g self-raising flour (plus a little more for dusting)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 85g butter, cut into cubes
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 175ml milk
- 1tsp vanilla bean paste
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Beaten egg to glaze
- Jam & clotted cream to serve
Heat oven to 220C/200 fan. Sieve the flour into a large bowl, add the salt and baking powder. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.
Put the milk into a pan and heat up until warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, then set aside for a moment (the milk will start to curdle).
Make a well in the dry mix, then add the milk and combine with a cutlery knife - it will seem quite wet. Scatter some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Sprinkle some flour onto your hands and fold the dough a few times until it is smoother. Pat it gently into a circle about 4cm deep. Cut with a circle cutter (dipped in some flour to prevent it from sticking to the dough). Press the leftover dough again and cut the rest of the scones. Brush the tops of your scones with beaten egg and place on a pre-heated baking tray. Bake for 10 min or until golden on top.
Enjoy them warm or cold, topped with clotted cream and jam.