Monthly Archives: June 2016

10 things we should all do this summer plus win a £50 Garden Centre Voucher

10 things to do this summer

10 things we should all do this summer

As last Monday heralded the official start of summer here are a few suggestions to make the most of the season

 1 Go to the seaside.

As we’re a small island nation most of us can drive to the sea in less than 2 hours. In fact the village considered furthest away from the coast in Britain is Coton in the Elms, Derbyshire; a mere 70 miles from the sea.

There’s something magical about the seaside. Everything smells good (even those fried doughnuts!), the sound of the waves and seagulls lull you into a relaxed state and for me, it always reminds me of childhood day trips and holidays. So breathe deep and enjoy the sea air!

2 Write exercise in your Dairy Diary.

With a hectic life, it’s not always easy to fit in exercise but I have found a very nifty trick to sticking to my new found ability to run (it only took me 40 years!!) – write it in the diary. If it’s there on paper, slotted into an available gap you’re far more likely to stick to it. You can even tick it off when you’ve done it and feel really virtuous!

3 Make a holiday photo collage.

How many holiday photos do you have stashed away on the computer or in old dusty albums in a drawer somewhere? Enjoy them instead! Choose one really lovely image from each holiday and make a collage – either with prints or make one with digital photos online and get it printed via a photo website. Frame your creation and put it somewhere you can see it every day and remember all those cherished moments.

4 Treat yourself to a pedicure and show off your toes.

Summer means sandal time, so book yourself in for a proper pedicure – I love Shellac or Minx because they last and you can enjoy gorgeous shiny or sparkly toe nails all summer long.

5 Go on a picnic.

Make this an impromptu affair with a blanket, a few of your favourite foods (homemade or bought from your local deli), and your favourite view. Bliss.

6 Explore local footpaths.

When going walking we often head off in the car to some ‘route’ I’ve found in a walking book. This summer, instead I plan to explore our locality and discover where all those public footpaths lead to that we have never walked. I just hope we don’t get too lost!

7 Wear your favourite dress on an ordinary day.

We so often save gorgeous clothes for ‘best’. But how often do we actually get to wear them? Tomorrow, wear that beautiful dress and enjoy it rather than saving it for a special occasion that may never arise.

8 Spend the evening in the garden.

Whizz up a dip and take it into the garden with a bag of crisps or crudité and a chilled bottle of rosé or elderflower fizz. You’ll probably need a blanket or warm cardigan but enjoy the long summer evenings and having some tv-free time.

9 Plant lavender.

The fragrance of lavender is so relaxing it’s perfect for the garden. Plant one or two bushes near to where you sit or come in and out of the house and enjoy the scent all summer. Don’t forget to enter this month’s prize draw to win a £50 garden voucher and you could buy a whole gardenful of lavender! <link>

10 Make a different salad for lunch every day this week.

One of the best ways to ensure we are getting all the right nutrients is to eat a ‘rainbow’ of colours. Each day this week enjoy a different salad for lunch – see how inventive you can be with different veg, salad, fruit, nuts, seeds, cheeses, fish, meat and dressings. The possibilities are endless. Why not try this one today:


Tuna and Avocado Salad


Tuna, Avocado & Fennel Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 296 per portion
Fat 20g (3.7g sat) per portion


  • Tuna in water 200g can, drained
  • Light mayonnaise 3-4 tbsp
  • Lime 1, juice only
  • Avocado 1, peeled, stoned and diced
  • Fennel bulb ½ small, very thinly sliced
  • Salad leaves 60g packet


  1. Mix together tuna, mayonnaise and lime juice.
  2. Add avocado, season to taste and gently stir together.
  3. Divide salad leaves between two plates. Spoon tuna mix on top.

#summer #win #competition #salad


Win a £50 Garden Centre Voucher

Win a £50 Garden Centre Voucher

Dairy Diary is giving you the chance to win a £50 voucher to spend on whatever you fancy in over 200 garden centres and nurseries throughout the UK.

To enter simply answer the following question:

How many easy half-day projects are there in Seasonal Garden Ideas? (Hint: the answer can be found on the Seasonal Garden Ideas page)


Seasonal Garden IdeasSeasonal Garden Ideas is a beautiful book featuring easy half-day projects, with easy-to-follow instructions, to add beauty to any garden.

There is lots to do through all four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Now available for just £3.99!


Recipe of the Week | Apricot Cookies

Apricot Cookies from the Dairy Diary

Easy to bake in no time and perfect for lunchboxes and picnic hampers.

Apicot Cookies

  • Servings: 36 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 115 per cookie
Fat 8g of which 4.3g is saturated
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians


  • Butter 175g (6oz)
  • Caster sugar 110g (4oz)
  • Soft cheese 175g (6oz)
  • Self-raising flour 225g (8oz)
  • Ground almonds 75g (3oz)
  • Ready-to-eat dried apricots 75g (3oz), chopped
  • Fudge pieces 75g (3oz), chopped if necessary


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Line baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Put butter, sugar, cheese, fl our and almonds into a bowl and beat together. Stir in apricots and fudge.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of mixture onto baking sheets and press down lightly with a fork.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Leave for 2 minutes on baking sheets, then lift off and cool on a wire rack.

Dairy Diary recipe





Garden Revamp in 4 Simple Steps

Win £50 Garden Voucher

Fabulous Front Garden Revamp in 4 Simple Steps

Plus WIN a £50 garden voucher

Whilst rambling cottage gardens and wildflower meadows have a beautiful carefree charm, I also really love the pattern and uniformity of municipal gardens and even town roundabouts – try to see beauty wherever you can is my motto!

For many modern houses, this regimented type of planting can work really well, particularly in the front garden where space is often limited.

I love this Rainbow Fan idea from our Seasonal Garden Ideas book and plan to try this to cheer up a drab patch of soil underneath one of our windows. Here’s how to create it:




Summer annuals are unrivalled for the colour they can bring to the garden – it’s no wonder they are so popular for bedding schemes. Here petunias and marigolds have been planted in a rainbow fan of brilliant colour.

Plant in early summer when all danger of frost is past. The bed should flower throughout the summer. Set aside most of a day for planting – there are a lot of baby plants to put in.

What you need


Buy bedding strips of purple and blue petunias, yellow and orange Afro-French and French marigolds and variegated-leaf salvias – enough to cover the area you have in mind.

Here there are at least 30-40 yellow marigold plants and the same number of orange ones; 20 or so of each colour of petunia; and 20-25 salvias.


Fork, spade, rake and trowel. General-purpose compost.
1 Bedding schemes like this do best in full sun, so choose your site carefully. The soil does not have to be particularly rich, but it still needs to be dug over thoroughly. Remove any weeds, roots or stones as you dig. Incorporate a general-purpose compost into the top 8-10cm (3-4in) of soil and rake smooth.

2 Start planting the deep orange marigolds at the wide end of the fan. Remove the baby plants from their bedding strip and lay them out in three rows, spacing them about 20cm (8in) apart. Use the trowel to dig small planting holes, setting in and firming each pant methodically in three arcs.

3 Moving forwards, plant the bright yellow marigolds in the same way, again in three curving rows. Follow up with the salvias.

4 Finish with the two bands of blue and purple petunias, using the same procedure as before to plant them. Water the whole bed thoroughly, using a fine rose on your watering can so you don’t dislodge the newly bedded plants.

To keep the plants producing flowers for as long a period as possible, feed with a high potash liquid fertiliser every couple of weeks.

The salvias are not yet in flower in this bed. They will come into bloom later in the season.

Keep the bed well watered in dry weather. Deadhead faded and withered flowers as often as you can to encourage new ones to appear – and to keep the bedding scheme looking good. Clear the bed in autumn, dig over the ground again and replant the following year.



Seasonal Garden Ideas £3.99Seasonal Garden Ideas
is available for just £3.99!

Buy Seasonal Garden Ideas





Win a £50 Garden Centre Voucher


Win a £50 Garden Centre Voucher

And we have a fantastic prize on offer – enter this month’s competition
and you could win a £50 garden voucher to spend on anything you like.












Recipe of the Week | Brie with Redcurrant Jelly

Brie with redcurrant jelly

Brie with Redcurrant Jelly

Made in Somerset, according to traditional French methods, Somerset brie is considered by many to be as fine as French brie, with its straw colour and creamy tangy flavour. Serve it coated in breadcrumbs, as a really simple, light lunch – delicious!

Preparation time – 5 minutes
Cooking time – 5 minutes
Calories per portion – 271 Kcal
Fat per portion – 21g of which saturated – 10.5g
Serves – 4
Suitable for vegetarians

Somerset brie 150g (5oz)
Egg 1, beaten
Fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs 50g (2oz)
Butter 25g (1oz)
Vegetable oil 1 tbsp
Redcurrant jelly 2 tbsp
Water 1 tbsp
Curly endive lettuce to serve
Redcurrants to garnish

1 Cut the cheese into four equal-sized slices. Dip in the beaten egg and coat in the breadcrumbs.

2 Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan and fry the cheese slices for about 10 seconds on each side, until the breadcrumbs are crispy and golden. Drain on kitchen paper.

3 Meanwhile, put the redcurrant jelly and 1 tbsp of water in a saucepan and heat gently until the jelly melts.

4 Place each cheese slice on a bed of lettuce and drizzle with redcurrant sauce. Garnish with the redcurrants and serve immediately.

Cook’s tip
Ensure the cheese is well chilled, otherwise it may melt before the breadcrumbs are crispy.

Recipe taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook

Easy Handmade New Baby Gift

Easy-Handmade-New-Baby-Gift-2 Easy Handmade New Baby Gift

When my best friend’s babies came along I made each of them name pictures for the nursery wall.

Because it was such a momentous event (super exciting but also signalling the end to our era of clubbing!) I wanted something special that they could keep forever.

My friend must have liked them as
she has now asked me to create
one for her brand new niece.

Because they are personalised and handmade they feel really special, but actually they are really easy to make.

Here’s how:

  1. Easy Handmade New Baby GiftBuy a frame with a mount, a selection of ribbons, a sheet of felt and an embroidery silk in the same tones.
  2. Cut a piece of card slightly larger than the aperture of the mount. Stick lengths of ribbon along the back of one side and weave with ribbons on the adjacent side. Take a look at my Easter card blog for the technique <link>
  3. On a piece of paper print out your chosen name in simple lettering. Cut out the letters and pin to the felt. Cut around the letters. Use the embroidery silk to do a blanket stitch around the edge of each letter.
  4. Glue the letters to the finished woven ribbon card and place in the frame.






Recipe of the Week | Cherry & Pistachio Chocolate Squares

Cherry & Pistachio Chocolate Squares

An easy, no-bake recipe that’s perfect to make with children.

It may be naughty,
but it’s very VERY nice!

Cherry & Pistachio Chocolate Squares

  • Servings: 20 squares
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Calories 211 per portion
Fat 13g (6.6g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Butter 125g (4½oz), diced
  • Dark chocolate 300g (11oz), broken into squares
  • Golden syrup 3 tbsp
  • Glacé cherries 100g (3½oz), halved
  • Pistachio nuts 50g (2oz), chopped
  • Sultanas 50g (2oz)
  • Digestive biscuits 200g pack, broken into pieces


  1. Line a 20cm (8in) square tin with clingfilm.
  2. Put the butter, chocolate and golden syrup into a large microwave-proof bowl. Microwave on medium power for 1-2 minutes until the chocolate has melted, stirring after every 20 seconds and checking the chocolate does not overheat.
  3. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Spoon into the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Leave to cool.
  4. Chill for at least an hour (or until set) and then remove from the tin, peel off the cling film and cut into 20 squares.

Cook’s tips
Take care when melting the chocolate – if it is cooked for too long it will seize.
These squares will keep for a week wrapped in foil in the fridge or freeze for 3 months.
Use any dried fruits you have in the cupboard.


Fantastic Food For Less cookbookThese recipes are taken from
our gorgeous cookbook,
Fantastic Food for Less,
which is HALF PRICE this month.

Get in quick before they sell out!


You won’t regret it – the recipes are outstanding.


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