Monthly Archives: June 2013

How to make homemade candles

Homemade candles


Handmade Teacup Candles

Woops! I’ve caught the crafting bug again. Rather than vegetate in front of the TV every night (which is very tempting after a full day at work and putting three children to bed!) I feel much happier if I create something.

Often, this is done on my knee whilst watching television, but the creative process is very therapeutic. This week, I’ve made two birthday cards and this teacup candle – beautifully vintage.

Here’s how to make it.
But don’t do it on your
knee in front of the TV!


What you will need

Homemade-candles-beforeTeacup and saucer

Candle wax 110-125g (4-5oz)

Coloured candle die

Saucepans 2

Pre-waxed wire wick 1 (3½in)

Essential oil a few drops, optional




  1. Place the candle wax in a small saucepan. Add a tiny mount of the chosen die (a little goes a long way and will look darker in the teacup.)
  2. Put the saucepan over a larger pan of simmering water on the hob. Heat the wax, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from the heat as soon as all the wax chips have melted.
  4. Place the wick at the bottom of the cup.
  5. Add a few drops of essential oil to the melted wax, if using, and then pour into the cup.
  6. Leave to cool and then trim the wick to around 2cm (½in) above the wax.

Good luck.


Please post photos of your candles on the Dairy Dairy Facebook page.



Enjoy National Picnic Week

Perfect picnics


Enjoy National Picnic Week

When it comes to memorable meals, it’s not just about what you eat but where you eat.

I have enjoyed some amazing meals at fabulous restaurant, where the food quality is just astonishing, but the pleasure of eating alfresco in a beautiful setting equals (and sometimes beats) this.

In the right place,
with the right weather,
there’s nothing more
special than a picnic.

Mewslade-BeachOne particularly memorable picnic was at the top of Catbells in the Lake District. The view was just beautiful and a couple of fellow fell walkers kindly shared their homemade flapjack with us. We have also enjoyed hotdogs cooked over the fire at Mewslade beach on the Gower peninsular.

Most of my childhood holidays featured British picnics, so we often had to take a camping stove or make a fire in order to create something to warm us up!

Forget stale old cheese sandwiches, pack a feast of portable delights for a truly memorable experience. We usually shop for some ready-made couscous and falafel, take a bag of hand-cooked crisps, a punnet of strawberries and some home baked goodies, such as cheese scones, fruit cake and these fabulous muffins.

Don’t forget the flask of coffee to warm you up as well!



Parma-Ham,-Spinach-and-Basil-MuffinsTry this yummy
Parma Ham, Spinach & Basil Muffins
recipe from the Dairy Diary 2014.

There is more picnic inspiration
in the next Dairy Diary.

Reserve yours online next month and
receive one of the very first copies.



Win a Picnic HamperWin a Polka Dot Picnic Hamper

Like to picnic in style?

Who wouldn’t want to win this gorgeous picnic basket?

Enter the prize draw and you could be the most stylish picnicker in the park.

Father’s Day Makes and Bakes

Father's Day Gifts


Father’s Day Makes and Bakes

When you become a mum you realise that Father’s Day becomes even more fun and yet requires a LOT more planning.

My dad has had a very challenging year this year and so I want to spoil him with something really special. Despite being in the latter part of his sixties, my Harley-riding dad is a bit ‘rock’ and so I have commissioned this gorgeous leather bracelet from Etsy with ‘Coolest Grandad’ and the names of his grandchildren.

Etsy is a fantastic place to find unusual gifts at affordable prices and often features up-and-coming artists and craftspeople. I’ve also ordered a really cool Vespa photographic print for my scooter-loving better half from the twinettes.

For a Father’s day card with impact
you can’t beat a create-your-own-card
website such as Snapfish.

I have created three lovely cards with pictures of the children for my Dad and my little people’s daddy.

I’ve also begun (a little late) a lino print for Dad of a hare, his favourite animal, which I am desperately hoping is finished by Sunday. Lino-printing is a much neglected hobby as it is so difficult to find time with a busy full-time job and three children. I do, however, find it so therapeutic and it gives me such very valuable ‘me’ time. All of this little lot have not cost the earth, but because everything is so personal to each dad I think it will make them feel special (that’s the idea anyway!)


Steak Ciabatta & Lemon Tart recipes

I’m also planning a delicious family lunch for the three generations.

I think these two recipes from our next cookbook, Clever One Pot, should be a big hit! Steak Ciabatta with Caramelised Onions and Lemon Tart.

Secrets of Food Photography

irish soda bread recipe


Secrets of Food Photography

I love a train journey. As soon as I step on board and settle into my seat it evokes nostalgic feelings from childhood, even now.

I am lucky enough to be able to experience train travel on a fairly regular basis with work and last week I enjoyed a trip down to London for the first 2015 Dairy Diary photo shoot. As the Pendolino whizzes its way through the countryside, it’s a great opportunity to escape from the distractions in the office and have some quality thinking time, to plan new projects and marketing strategies.

Photo shoots are some of my favourite work days. It’s lovely to get the chance to spend a day in such a creative environment.

I also get to sample some rather delectable food,
which last week included pancakes for breakfast,
a very tasty steak pie for lunch and a cheeky little
champagne cocktail.

Many believe that food photography is faked but at our shoots, every recipe is made exactly as per its instructions. We just happen to have a very clever food stylist, Sara, who makes everything look so appetising. The only minor cheat was the addition of a tiny amount of sugar to the champagne cocktails to make them fizz for longer.

By far the most fun (and challenging) shot was a gorgeous chocolate torte topped with sparklers. It looked fantastic but took a few attempts to get it right without looking like a bonfire!

The props room is like an Aladdin’s Cave and gives me the chance to look through all the props selected by our stylist for the book. I think she has particularly excelled herself this year with some beautiful cloths, crockery and glassware.

Irish Soda bread recipeIrish Soda Bread with Rosemary

It will be a while before you get to see these fabulous images but I can share this recipe with you. I had this for the first time at last year’s photo shoot and it tastes just divine. We (actually not me but my former-baker fiancé) usually bake bread in the breadmaker but after sampling this we have made bread ‘properly’ a number of times. Irish Soda Bread with Rosemary is delicious with soup and so easy to make.

Happy baking everyone!


%d bloggers like this: