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.
The festive decorations are down, the children are back in school and I am using these slow winter days to rest and recharge as much as possible and ease my way slowly into the new year. I must admit, it is not always easy to do, with a business and three little ones. Routine and early mornings feel hard after all the festivities, but I am trying to be gentle with myself by keeping my to-do list reasonable and carving out a little me-time where possible.
This month we are sharing some ideas to help you beat those winter blues with yummy, heartwarming recipes and a simple wintery craft. Should you decide to have a go at any activities, we would really love to see them. Please tag us #inspiredbynelliequats
Porridge is something we make frequently throughout the year, whatever the season, but it is especially enjoyable during the colder months. It is nutritious, packed with vitamins, not to mention that the spices, caramelised apples and crunchy walnuts make it taste like an apple pie in a bowl!
We use ordinary milk for our recipe, but you can replace it for a plant-based type if you wish.
Ingredients (2-3 servings):
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 4 cups milk (ordinary or plant-based)
- 1 medium apple, peeled and diced (we used cox for this recipe, but you can experiment withany type)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup- spices (we used 1 tsp ground cinnamon and a pinch of all spice)
- pinch of sea saltCaramelised apples
- 1 medium apple, sliced, with skin on (we used cox for this recipe, but you can try any type) - 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Drizzle of maple syrup (optional)
- Walnuts or pecans (toasted or not)
Add the oats, diced apple, milk, spices and salt to a medium saucepan and place over a medium - high heat, stirring until everything is combined. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 8-10 min stirring occasionally. Once the oats have thickened a little, add the maple syrup and let it simmer for another minute or two before taking off the heat.
In a medium skillet or a frying pan over medium-high heat, add the butter and heat until melted. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and stir until combined and everything begins to bubble. Next add the sliced apples, toss until well coated and cook until tender and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat.
To serve, ladle the porridge into a bowl, add caramelised apple slices, drizzle with maple syrup if you wish and sprinkle with nuts. Enjoy!
DIY WINTER LANTERN
This is such a simple DIY, a little light to brighten up a winter’s day. You can use any glass jars you may have at home - jam, yoghurt, etc. as long as there is enough space for a tealight.
You will need:
- glass jar (or a few)
- Craft glue (we used PVA)
- Artificial snow or Epsom salt
- String and greenery for decoration
Start by painting your jar with glue (any liquid craft glue should work, but we used PVA), cover the whole jar if you wish or just the top. While the glue is wet, sprinkle the snow to cover the glue completely or you can roll the jar in it. I had some artificial snow at home that I bought years ago for a different craft, so we used it here, but you could use Epsom salt too. Let the glue dry and the “snow” set.
Next tie a string around the lip of the jar and add some evergreens, perhaps with a pinecone. You can leave the inside of the jar as it is or add a little moss at the bottom, evergreens or more snow.
Finally add your candle. We used tea-lights, but if your jar is big enough, you could use a block candle.
PROPER HOT CHOCOLATE
Rich, chocolatey, just scrumptious - the perfect treat for a cold winter’s day.
- 2 pints of milk
Hot chocolate mix:
- 2 tbsp Horlicks
- 2 tbsp corn flour
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 100g quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
Pour the milk into a large pan and heat over a medium heat. In the meantime, combine all the dry ingredients well. Next add about 8 heaped tablespoons of dry mix to the milk. Whisk well to get rid of any lumps and let it thicken. Pour in a mug and top with marshmallows or whipped cream.