Our Monthly Journal

March 2024

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 youngest 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 sun is getting warmer
And the air is growing soft.
Golden beams peek through
The shifting cumulus clouds.
In the earth, green shoots are rising up to meet a brighter sky.
Everything seems so much lighter
On spring mornings."

Spring by Ellis Nightingale

I am very much in the season of anticipation. Anticipation for spring and brighter days ahead most of all. The temperatures are still very much wintery here in the Peaks, but after weeks of relentless rain we have thankfully had a few days where the sun has shown its face. I am noticing that the days are getting longer little by little and brighter mornings are so very welcome.
In this month’s journal I share a delicious recipe that could be a lovely inspiration for the upcoming Mothering Sunday. Easter is super early this year and falls in March too, so I am sharing a simple Easter DIY and a pretty Easter-themed place setting.

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MOTHER'S DAY BISCUITS

Hands down the best shortbread I have ever made. Very quick and easy to whip up - the perfect activity to do with little ones. The dough can be cut in any shapes. I picked a tea bag shape for these - they are delicious with a cup of tea.

You will need:

For shortbread:
- 1tsp earl grey tea
- 260g plain flour
- 225g butter at room temperature
- 60g icing sugar (you may need a little more if the icing appears too runny)
- 1tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/4tsp salt

For icing:
- 80g icing sugar
- Juice of one fresh lemon
- Food colouring
- Piping bag

For decoration (optional)
- String
- Patterned paper

Mix together the icing sugar and tea. Put the butter, tea and icing sugar in the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment and beat at medium speed until the mixture is well mixed and smooth. Add vanilla bean paste, mix to combine. Then add the salt and flour, mixing on low speed just until it is all incorporated.
Take the dough out and transfer onto a lightly floured worktop. Form a ball (do not overmix but just bring the dough together) and flatten it slightly into a disc. Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for about 1hour.

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Next roll the dough out into a 0.5cm thick sheet. It is best to roll the dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper so that it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin. Cut out teabags or whatever shapes you wish. Next, place them on the baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and put back in the fridge for about 15 minutes (this will help the biscuits retain their shape when in the oven).Bake in a preheated oven at 170°C for about 13 - 15 minutes. Once baked, let the biscuits cool completely. This is where you can attach the tea bag tags and string if you wish. I just used some patterned paper that I cut into little squares and wavy edges. You can also use plain paper and using small rubber stamps, add a little heart or a flower etc. There are lots of printable tea bag tags online as an alternative. Feed the string through the hole in the teabag and glue the paper tag to it.

To make the icing, simply mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice. Leave the icing as it is or if you wish, add a little food colouring like I did. You can use a piping bag to apply the icing onto the biscuits. Wait a little for the icing to set before serving. Enjoy!

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EASTER CARROT POUCHES

A fun little craft for Easter. These DIY carrot pouches would be a really sweet addition to any Easter basket or if you are hosting, they will be great as favours.
I initially planned to make them using a patterned card, but after searching and not really finding anything suitable, I decided to use watercolour paper. Watercolour paint creates a beautiful, unique pattern and so each pouch ended-up being a little different, which I love.

You will need:

- Watercolour paper and paint (or coloured card)
- Ruler
- Scissors
- Double-sided sticky tape
- Craft glue or hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Something to fill the pouches with: mini chocolate eggs, sweets, small toy etc.

Start by painting your paper if, like me, you are using watercolour paper, or if using coloured card, skip straight to the next step. Cut 6 x 6 inch square. On the reverse side, measure out 0.5 inch on the right hand side and the same on the bottom, now fold those sides inwards. Next, stick strong double-sided sticky tape on the outside of both folded sides. Then, without creasing the paper, fold it so the two edges stick together. Turn the pouch to face you, so that the long seam is behind and vertical. Then gently squash the top of the pouch by bringing the two loose ends together. When facing you, the bottom of the pouch should be narrow and pointy like the tip of a carrot and the top - wide. Now all you need is some green carrot tops. I am using more watercolour paper that I painted green. Roughy cut three pieces (approximately 2 x 3 inches), then using scissors, create frayed edges on all three pieces, cutting not quite all the way to the bottom. Arrange them roughly, so they look more or less natural and glue them together along the bottom. Now you can fill your pouch with treats - mini chocolate eggs, other sweets or a small toy. Run a little hot glue on both sides of the inside of the pouch, insert the greet carrot tops and seal the pouch by pressing until the glue sticks.

P.S. look out for a reel on how to make these

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SIMPLE EASTER PLACE SETTING

Are you hosting this Easter? Maybe you are planning a gathering of friends and family? Either way, I hope this simple place setting design inspires you to decorate your table, be it for a special gathering or a simple family brunch.

You will need:

- Compostable seed pots or you can also use small clay pots
- Wood wool or moss
- Chicken eggs
- Quail eggs
- Feathers
- Small spring branches or blossom

Fill the pots all the way to the top with wood wool or moss, place the chicken egg on top, add a quail egg and a small feather or two. Place the pot on the plate, put a couple more quail eggs on the plate and add a small branch of blossom or a tiny spring branch with sprouting new leaves. Add a little note with a name of a person or a “Happy Easter” message (I used plant labels that came with the pots for that).

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