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.
It has been the most beautiful few weeks here in the Peaks. The sunshine, warm temperatures and absence of rain truly spoiled us and we have been enjoying long walks in the countryside, afternoons by the stream, picnics and numerous trips to our local organic ice-cream farm - basically summer at its best.
When not enjoying the outdoors, we have been crafting and I thought I would share a couple of activities with you.
This month we have made some gorgeous hand-made cards for our teachers at school, as the end of the school year is just around the corner. We have also got together a few things we had lying around the house and made our own binoculars - perfect for exploring the outdoors this summer. And finally, I am sharing my go-to super simple and delicious salad recipe!
Should you decide to have a go at any activities, we would really love to see them. Please tag us Please tag us #inspiredbynelliequats
Blackberry season is here and keeping up with our yearly tradition we went blackberry foraging recently. I often think how lucky we are, here in the UK, to be able to just wonder down a local country lane with a basket and collect a pretty decent haul of fresh blackberries!
This year, besides the traditional apple and blackberry crumble, we also made a homemade Bramble cocktail. This was so delicious that I thought I’d share the recipe with you in case you too decide to make the most of the blackberry season.
Firstly, make a sugar syrup at a ratio of 2:1 sugar to water. Simply add 400g caster sugar and 200g water to a pan and heat slowly, stirring constantly until all the sugar has dissolved. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
Transfer half the batch to a container to chill completely in the fridge.
Add 400g (washed) blackberries to the pan with the remaining sugar syrup and bring to a simmer for around 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the colour has transferred from the berries to the syrup.
Strain into a bowl through a fine sieve, gently pushing the berries around without squashing them, so that all the syrup passes through into the bowl. Discard the berries and chill the syrup in the fridge.
To make the Bramble, first crush some ice by wrapping it in a tea towel and hitting it with a rolling pin (on a hard surface). Then fill a glass with the crushed ice. Measure 50ml of gin and pour it in the glass over the ice. Add 12.5ml of the plain sugar syrup, then 25ml freshly squeezed lemon juice. Top up the glass with more crushed ice to the brim, creating a mound on top. Drizzle a dessert spoon of the chilled blackberry syrup over the ice to create a bleeding effect in the glass. Garnish with a few fresh blackberries and serve with a straw. To make a non-alcoholic version, simply swap the gin for still or sparkling water.
DIY SEASHELL TEALIGHTS
Do you have seashells at home? The ones you gathered from a beach sometime? Perhaps you are going on a holiday by the sea or the ocean? Then this simple craft is for you.
Over the last few years we have been lucky enough to gather seashells from various beaches here in the UK and abroad and for a while I wondered what to do with our collection. I then came across some beautiful candles in gorgeous large seashells and I thought why not try to make our own tealights from smaller shells we have at home?!
We have made them recently and they turned out beautifully! Such a great way to repurpose them.
You will need:
⁃ Seashells (the deeper they are, the better)
⁃ Pre waxed wicks
⁃ Glue gun
⁃ Scented oil (optional)
⁃ A small pan with a spout or a pan and a jug
Select the largest and deepest shells, clean and dry them. Next attach wicks with hot glue to the deepest part of the inside of your shells. Arrange the shells on a protected surface in case of wax spilling. Make sure each shell is stable as the wax may tip them over.
Next melt the wax in a pan with a spout or transfer the hot wax from a pan to a jug that you will use to pour the wax into your seashells. Add the scented oil if using.
Take care pouring the hot wax into each shell, filling it just enough, but not overfilling it. It may take some practice, but they don’t have to be perfect. Let the candles set completely for a few hours before burning them. Once the wax has set all the way through (usually within a few hours) trim your wicks if necessary before lighting them, but not too short.
Take care when lighting the tealights and bear in mind that the smaller shells will burn for a shorter time than bigger shells filled with more wax.
Please do not leave the candles burning unattended or within the reach of children.
BACK TO SCHOOL KEYRING
To get the kids a little bit excited about going back to school, we have made these personalised keychains that they can hang on their schoolbags or lunch bags or be gifted to friends on the first day back.
I bought some pretty letter beads for my girls over summer and we had a lot of fun making bracelets. As we still had some beads left, we decided to repurpose them here too.The idea is to decorate round wooden beads of various sizes and to turn them into a doll/ person, adding personalisation with letter beads (this could be a name, nickname, or other fun words, - whatever you feel like).
You will need:
- Wooden beads with a hole in the middle (so you can feed a thread through). Ours are 35mm, 30mm, 20mm, and some smaller ones too)
- Leather cord (ours is 2mm thick)
- Small Lobster Detachable Swivel Clasps for Key Split Ring Keychain
- Small letter beads
- Thin nylon cord
- Acrylic paint (we used Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint)
Start building your dolls by choosing the beads for the head, body and hair, then paint them in colours and patterns of your choice. Have some fun making different faces and expressions, hair styles, as well as body designs (plain, stripes, spots etc). I found it easiest to put each bead on a long skewer to paint. I did not have a brush thin enough to draw fine little details like eyes, so I used a cocktail stick instead.
Once you have finished your design and the paint is completely dry, you can start assembling the dolls by threading the leather cord and attaching it by the loop to the ring chain and back down through the beads for a second time. Finish by tying a knot at the bottom to secure the beads together.
If you wish to personalise the keychain with a name or a word, simply spell the word out, run the thin nylon thread through the beads and through the keyring, then run it down through the letter beads again and tie a knot to secure them together. Ta Da!