Our Monthly Journal

February 2022

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.

A brand new year is full of possibilities, but there’s no need to rush. Slower winter months allow us to enjoy the warmth of our homes, give us a chance to reflect on the previous year and make some plans for the year ahead. 2021 was a very busy year for me, a little hectic at times and although I doubt that this year will be hugely different, I aim to carefully choose where to invest my energy and time. One of my goals is to spend some quality time with my twin girls. A busy work schedule and the arrival of our third baby meant that I couldn’t spend as much time with them as I would have liked the last few months of 2021. So this year I’ve planned a few surprises and days out that I hope they’ll love. We have already been ice skating together this year, which we all enjoyed enormously and had a few coffee dates. We have a lovely surprise for their birthday in spring and I hope to continue with this trend. I am going to focus on self-care and be selective about the photography work that I take on. Quality over quantity is definitely the goal here. This month’s journal has a yummy recipe for you to try, a sweet Valentines craft to make with little ones and I’ll also share a new tradition that we have started this year.
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

IMPERFECT DIY VALENTINE'S CARD 

A sweet and very easy Valentine’s themed craft to try with your little ones.

You will need:

- Card/cardboard
- Colourful/patterned paper
- Paper glue
- Scissors

Draw a heart on a piece of card or cardboard and cut it out. Tear the colourful paper in strips and start gluing them onto your heart. Once the whole heart is covered, flip it around and cut the excess paper off.

CREPE CAKE WITH MASCARPONE AND SYRUP FILLING

Why not try something different this upcoming pancake day? This crepe cake is relatively easy to make and assemble. I’ve always wanted to try and have a go at making one of these and pancake day seemed like a good excuse. We generally have crepes on Sunday morning if everyone is at home and we have nowhere to rush. This is the recipe I use.

You will need:
300g plain flour
6 eggs
2 tbsp of sugar (caster or granulated)
A pinch of salt3 tbsp of rapeseed oil
900ml of milk

For the cake I needed a little more than that, as I wanted a tall cake, so I made 1.5 of the recipe.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl to make a watery batter. How many crepes you get will depend on the size of your pan (mine was 25cm). Brush a little oil onto the heated pan (I always use two frying pans, so the baking is quicker), ladle the pancake batter on, then tilt the pan to spread the batter around evenly. The crepes cook pretty quickly. As soon as you start to see a golden colour, gently peel the edge of the crepe and flip it to cook the other side.

Orange syrup:
250g sugar
150ml water
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
1 orange thinly sliced

Add water, orange juice and sugar to a pan, stir until the sugar has melted. Thinly slice the orange into disks, keeping the skin on and add to the pan. Simmer on a low/medium heat for about 45 minutes.

Filling:
500g mascarpone
250g double cream
70g icing sugar
2 tbsp runny honey
1 tsp orange essence

Add the double cream, icing sugar and mascarpone into a bowl. Whisk until soft and fluffy, then add the orange essence and honey and whisk again until it holds its shape and is spreadable. 
Place the first crepe on a plate or cake stand and spread on a thin layer of mascarpone in the centre, leaving a line around the edge, (the weight of the crepes can cause the filling to leak out if you add too much or go too close to the edge). Then drizzle over some syrup and place the next crepe on top. Continue layering crepes, once all the crepes are added you can leave the top plain and dust with powdered sugar. Place the cake in the fridge to firm up before slicing. 


GOOD THINGS JAR

This year we have started a new tradition - “Good Things Jar”. This is something I wanted to introduce for a while. I have noticed how positive thinking affects my day and my life overall. Like everyone else I have my bad days, but I have noticed that if I try to focus on the good and say positive things out loud, more often than not, it makes a difference and things seem brighter. Equally, if I moan all day about this and that, it has the reverse effect.

In January I introduced this to my family and we have been writing down good things and storing them in our jar.

My older girls have been writing things we did, like ice skating, a family movie night or any other memorable events. I have written things like an afternoon nap, a bubble bath I have managed to squeeze in, or a coffee date we had with the girls. The aim is to find a positive even on the days that, perhaps, weren’t that great or eventful. I hope this will encourage positive thinking for everyone in the family as well as encourage my girls to practice their writing skills.

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