How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep

How to sleep well

When the weather is warm, sleep can elude us, when we most need it.

 

Build these tips into your bedtime routine and hopefully, soon you’ll be getting plenty of zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Keep safe and well everyone.

 


 

Sleep tight

Diet and exercise are often extolled as underlying a healthy lifestyle, but let’s not forget the third, equally important factor – sleep. If nodding off can seem elusive, try these few simple tips to help you slip into the land of your dreams in no time.

Everyone feels better after a good night’s sleep and, according to medical science, for most adults that means around eight hours every night, although some people can happily do with less and some need more. The test is whether you feel refreshed, alert and ready to face the day.

The odd bad night doesn’t do any harm, except perhaps to your level of grumpiness, but regular lack of sleep is not good healthwise.

So, short of draping the bedroom with lavender, orange blossom and passion flowers – all sleep promoters, so why not? – what can you do to make sure you get the right amount of shut-eye?

Good habits

How to sleep wellWind down

It may be easier said than done, but going to bed in the right frame of mind is important. It’s better not to dwell on highly emotional issues just at lights out, for example.

If you can establish a relaxing, pre-bed routine, that will help enormously. Do some gentle yoga stretches, have a warm bath, listen to soothing music, read, or listen to the radio (but don’t forget to turn it off or it may wake you up at two in the morning!)

Embrace the dark

Even a tiny chink of light can inhibit the brain’s production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, so thick curtains, or even a blackout blind, will help.

No bright lights at all in the bedroom is a good rule, especially those connected with a mobile phone, computer, tablet or any other electronic device.

The blue light emitted by screens also affects melatonin production. In fact, no screen time for a couple of hours before turning in can make a big difference – and it’s probably better to do without an illuminated digital clock. In any case, whatever you do, don’t keep checking the time. That just makes things worse.

How to sleep wellRestful surroundings

The room should be quiet and cool, around 18°C (65°F) suits most people, and free of any work-related paraphernalia. The bedroom is no place for brain strain. If there’s anything on your mind that may keep you awake, write it down before you go to bed, or make a to-do list to reassure yourself you won’t forget something, and then do forget it until the morning.

Sustenance

If hunger pangs are likely to be a problem, it’s fine to have a light snack, yogurt with banana and honey, for example, or a bowl of cereal with milk, while the traditional milky drink at bedtime is just as comforting and sleep-inducing as it always was.

An alcoholic nightcap may also send you to sleep quickly but probably not for long!

The risk is a night of tossing and turning. In any case, it’s always better to get up and do something gentle for a while rather than put up with that.

Coffee, tea, cola or any other caffeine-containing drink are complete no-nos after the early afternoon. Choose a soothing herbal tea, such as chamomile, instead. Bear in mind, too, that a drink before bed may mean a bathroom visit during the night.

Routine

Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even at weekends (you may need to set an alarm to achieve this).

Once you settle into a routine your body will respond, and you will sleep better.

 


 

 

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Our Top 5 Chocolate Recipes

Top 5 Chocolate Recipes

Who invented chocolate?

 

Thank goodness for the Aztecs, the Spanish, the Dutch, Mr Fry and Mr Cadbury! Without them, the world may well be devoid of chocolate; quite unthinkable.

Find out more about how our favourite treat came to be here… History of Chocolate.

And as an extra special treat – well it is World Chocolate Day tomorrow – we’re sharing our favourite chocolate recipes with you.

Enjoy!

 


 

Our Top 5 Chocolate Recipes

 

Our Top 5 Chocolate Recipes

 

No-Bake Nutty Chocolate Cheesecake

Speedy Chocolate Sponge Puddings

These mouthwatering recipes are taken from the Dairy Diary.

 


 

No-Bake Choc SquaresJust For One Or Two

Chocolate Fudgey Cake

These recipes are taken from our cookbook, Just for One of Two, which is packed full of recipes perfect for those cooking for just one, or a couple of people.

 

 


 

Chocolate Whisky Cake

Around Britain cookbookAnd this gorgeous Scottish cake features in Around Britain, a gorgeous book, which tours the nation introducing us to gastronomic delights from each region, all simple to make and delicious.

 

 

 

 


Keep safe and well everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories:

Enjoy Classic Wimbledon and Classic Recipes

Wimbledon

Wimbledon should have begun this week but has been cancelled (for obvious reasons)

 

Instead, the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which stages the championship, has launched ‘Wimbledon Recreated’, a campaign to celebrate the 2020 fortnight in the absence of this year’s championships.

Beginning today, the centrepiece of this campaign; ‘The Greatest Championships’ will provide a round-by-round re-telling of some of the best Wimbledon matches in history, brought to life in a digital experience hosted on wimbledon.com

And in the tradition of ‘strawberries and cream’ why not go one better and make these decadent and delicious dishes?

 

Strawberry  Puffs

Strawberry Puffs

 

Strawberry Trifle with Pimms

Strawberry Trifle with Pimms

 

Don’t miss the 40% sale!

Don’t forget that our amazing 40% off everything ends tomorrow, so stock up while you can!!

 

Enjoy and keep safe and well everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories:

Win £50 of beautiful plants to brighten your garden

WIN-50-NATIONAL-GARDEN-GIFT-VOUCHER-POST

Win £50 worth of plants for your gardenWith the current situation, we’re all spending more time in our own gardens.

 

That’s why we’re giving you the chance to win £50 of beautiful plants, to make your outdoor space even more cheerful (and we all need a bit of cheer right now!)

Win £50 of beautiful plants
to brighten your garden

ENTER NOW

 

Good luck, and keep safe and well everyone.

 

 

 

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Events this weekend: Summer Solstice & Father’s Day

Stonehenge Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice

Stonehenge, usually a place of pilgrimage, will stand solitary and silent today, despite it being the summer solstice.

It’s the most popular place for Pagans to celebrate the longest day because it famously aligns to the solstices.

The rising sun only reaches the middle of the stones one day of the year when it shines on the central altar.

Watch the summer solstice at Stonehenge

The summer solstice (read more here) takes place as one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the sun and the sun reaches its highest position in the sky, ensuring the longest period of daylight in the year.

You can watch last year’s sunrise at Stonehenge here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqUemGLomFI

It’s rather beautiful.

Whilst I don’t mind bare feet and a few flowers in my hair, personally on the summer solstice, I prefer a G&T in the garden!

 


 

Father’s Day

Like many others, we’ll also be celebrating Father’s Day (read more here)tomorrow in the garden.

I’ve had the usual conundrum about what to buy for my husband from the children and for my own dad. Luckily, I found chocolate and some very lovely hand-made soap in our local farm shop – rather apt, I thought.

Keep safe and well everyone, and happy Father’s Day to all you amazing dads out there. You’re doing a great job under very difficult circumstances.

 

 

Categories:

5 Fabulous Dips

Roast Beetroot & Feta Dip

I have a friend we name ‘queen of dips’ because she has always whizzed up something delicious for us to nibble on whilst chatting or waiting for dinner to cook.

She’s inspired me often to make these easy bowls of deliciousness.

Dips are an incredibly simple and tasty dish to serve as part of a tapas-style meal or as a starter before the main course.

Served with vegetable crudité and/or breadsticks/chips, dips are perfect for a summer’s evening in the garden.

I’ve broken the rules slightly here, the first recipe (the only one that we have a photo for, sorry!) is from our brand new cookbook due to be launched in August. I’m supposed to keep it secret until then, but this recipe is so good I wanted to share it now!

 


  

Roast Beetroot & Feta Dip

Serves 4–6
Preparation 15 minutes plus cooling
Cooking 1 hour
Calories 101 | Fibre 2.9g | Salt 0.4g | Sugar 0g Fat 5.7g of which 3.6g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians    

  • Raw beetroot 1 bunch (approx. 500g/1lb 2oz) 
  • Cooked or drained canned cannellini beans 75g (3oz)
  • Dried chilli flakes or cumin seeds ¼ tsp 
  • Feta cheese 65g (2½oz), chopped
  • Soured cream 4–6 tbsp
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Mixed seeds 2 tsp (optional)
  • Breadsticks, carrot batons or Oaty Crisps (p44) to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°fan/Gas 7. 
  2. Roast the beetroot for about 1 hour or until tender. Leave to cool a little then top and tail, and peel away the skins.
  3. Place the beetroot in a food processor with the beans, chilli flakes or cumin seeds, and 50g (2oz) of the Feta cheese. Whizz to blend together then whizz in enough soured cream to make a smooth dip. Season to taste.

Tips
Wear rubber gloves when peeling the beetroot to avoid staining your hands. Chilli flakes give a slight ‘kick’ to the dip, the cumin is more fragrant; choose your preference.

Recipe Taken from A Zest For Life Cookbook.

 


 

Hot Artichoke & Chive Dip

Serves 6
Suitable for vegetarians

  • Artichoke hearts 390g can, drained
  • Parmesan cheese 75g (3oz), grated
  • Light mayonnaise 125ml (4fl oz)
  • Soured cream 125ml (4 fl oz)
  • Snipped chives to garnish, optional
  1. Place all ingredients except chives into a food processor and whizz until smooth. Season to taste.
  2. Spoon mixture into a saucepan and heat gently until hot but not boiling.
  3. Pour into a serving bowl, sprinkle with chives if you like, and serve immediately.

 


 

Houmous

Serves 8
Preparation 10 mins
Per portion 100 kcals, 6g fat (1.1g saturated)
Suitable for vegetarians

  • 410g can chickpeas, drained
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150g (5oz) natural yogurt
  • 3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Chopped coriander to garnish
  1. Place chickpeas, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor and whizz to a coarse paste.
  2. Stir in cumin, ground coriander, salt, yogurt and peanut butter.
  3. Chill until ready to serve. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with coriander. 

Recipe Taken from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery.

 


 

Avocado Dip 

Serves 6
Preparation 15 mins
Per portion 78 kcals, 5g fat (0.6g saturated)
Suitable for vegetarians

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and stoned
  • 225g (8oz) quark or low fat soft cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 10 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
  1. Mash avocado flesh with quark or cheese.
  2. Season to taste and stir in garlic, pepper sauce and citrus juice.
  3. Cover and refrigerate or serve immediately.

Recipe Taken from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery.

 


 

Blue Cheese & Poppy Dip

Serves 4–6
Preparation 10 mins
Per portion 231 kcals, 20g fat (10.3g saturated)
Suitable for vegetarians

  • 150g (5oz) Blue Stilton cheese, crumbled
  • 175g (6oz) cottage cheese
  • 150ml (1/4 pint) soured cream
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Spoon into a serving dish. Garnish with extra poppy seeds.

Recipe Taken from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery.

 


 

 

Keep safe and well everyone.

 

 

 

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