Win a £100 Marks and Spencer Giftcard

Win a £100 M&S Giftcard


We need your help please, so that we can plan future books and make sure they are what our customers want.

We have a few ideas for our next cookbooks and would love to hear your thoughts on them, and also what you think of our cookbooks and the Dairy Diary – what do you love and what could be better?

Please fully complete our ONLINE SURVEY by Saturday 8 April and we will enter you into a Prize Draw to win a £100 M&S Giftcard.

I promise that the findings and your details will never be used for any other purpose.

Thank you very much indeed for your help; I hope you enjoy taking part!

Emily Davenport
Dairy Diary, Managing Editor


Win £100 M&S Giftcard




10 Must-Visit Food & Drink Festivals

10 Must-Visit Food & Drink Festivals

As the wind has been buffeting the trees and the rain pelting the windows I’ve been making a food festival shortlist.

Having something to look forward to is a real mood-lifter to cheer up these dreary days.

In the UK we’re really lucky, as there is a myriad of food and drink festivals across the country to keep us nourished and entertained.

There’s everything from cheese
shows to garlic festivals and even
a Jam & Ham festival in Carluke!

So after some very pleasant research, here’s my shortlist of fab events to visit this year.

Gin Festival London
17-19 February

Held in the magnificent Tobacco Dock, there will be more than 100 gins, cocktails and masterclasses from industry experts. Chin chin.

Cambridgeshire Spring Crafts, Food & Gifts Fair
18-19 March

Heaven – all things foodie and crafty. This should be the perfect place to stock up on birthday gifts for the year. And it’s held in the arena at Wood Green Animal Charity, so the hire of the venue is supporting a very worthwhile cause.

Cocktails in the City – Leeds
6-7 April

Held in the iconic town hall, this event showcases cocktails from the best bars in the city and also includes a secret carnival, escape room and street food market. It looks intriguing and lots of fun!

Spring Tide Food Festival
20 May

A seaside food festival – what more could you want? On the spectacular Jurassic coast, this event pulls together some of the best local food, drink, art and entertainment.

Dales Festival of Food & Drink
17-18 June

Held in the birthplace of Wensleydale – the nation’s favourite cheese – this food festival boasts food stalls, cookery demonstrations, live music and a funfair as well as arts and crafts.

Gower Chilli Festival
22-23 July

As Gower is one of the prettiest places in the world, this is a must. The festival has great live music, chilli companies, cooking competitions, kids events, gourmet food, local crafts and street food too.

Nantwich Show & Cheese Awards
26 July

Boasting the International Cheese Awards, this show is famous in our locality. One of our former colleagues even judges the cheeses. It’s a traditional mix of food, farming and shopping with a huge cheese tent (that can get a little whiffy in hot weather!)

The Big Feastival
25-27 August

This festival is AMAZING! Last year was my first, but I loved every second of it. With gorgeous food, fabulous music, a laid back atmosphere and dancing to a DJ set from Blur’s Alex James. Pure bliss.

Ludlow Food Festival
8-10 September

I’ve eaten one of my most memorable meals in this delightful town and so a visit to its festival in on my must-do list. Held inside Ludlow Castle, it has more than 180 local food and drink producers.

Conwy Honey Fair
13 September

Founded by Edwards I, this fair has taken place on the 13th September for over 700 years! Held in the picturesque town centre, it’s a quaint mixture of honey, crafts, plants and gifts.


Of course, there’s much more to the UK than just food. Take a look on page 46 of the Dairy Diary to find out more about British festivals and some very strange folklore too.

We’re a quirky nation!

Which events are on your to-do list for this year?














National Handwriting Day and a confession!

 National Handwriting Day

I have a confession – this is a secret that no one knows!

For various reasons – maybe my 1980s pre-curriculum schooling or possibly my ignored childhood calligraphy set – I have no idea how to do joined-up handwriting!

I think the fact that I work on a diary makes it even more excruciating and why most of my work is done using a keyboard.

I have serious handwriting envy when I see beautifully
penned tags on gifts given by friends and wish I could
create such gorgeous script.

But all is not lost, you’re never too old to learn, and as today is National Handwriting Day I’m going to confess all to my three children and ask them to teach me how to write properly! I’m sure my five-year-old twins will find this quite hilarious.

With advances in digital technology it’s more important than ever that we cherish the handwritten word. As the Handwriting Association suggests – legible writing that can be produced comfortably, at speed and with little conscious effort is vitally important throughout school and beyond education, most employment situations will involve at least some handwriting. Long live handwriting!

There is something really special about a lovingly handwritten diary, and this can be my target for the end of 2017 – learning how to join-up my letters beautifully is a much more inspirational resolution than dieting!

Do you write a daily record in your diary or do you just jot down notes and appointments?



This week’s recipe in the Dairy Diary is absolutely gorgeous and super-speedy too. Why not give it a try?

Cripsy Duck Salad

Crispy Duck Salad

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 480 per portion
Fat ?20g (1.5g sat) per portion


  • Half aromatic crispy duck (including pancakes and hoisin sauce) 530g/800g pack
  • Toasted sesame oil 3 tsp
  • White wine vinegar 1 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds 1 tbsp
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Bistro salad 180g pack


  1. Cook duck according to pack’s instructions. Meanwhile, whisk hoisin with 2 tsp sesame oil and vinegar.
  2. Toast sesame seeds for 2 minutes in a dry frying pan.
  3. Roll pancakes up together and cut into 1cm (½in) slices. Heat remaining sesame oil with olive oil in frying pan and fry pancakes for 4-5 minutes until golden.
  4. Mix pancake ribbons into salad leaves and divide between plates. Sprinkle with half the dressing. Shred duck with forks and place on top of salad leaves. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately with remaining dressing.

Thanks to for supplying this recipe.






National British Institutions – the Anniversaries

Sherlock Holmes in The Strand Magazine

Have you been gripped by the latest series of Sherlock?

By all accounts this British drama seems to have taken the world by storm and airs in countries all over the globe.

This year sees the 125th anniversary of the creation of Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was reputedly taken by surprise when a series of 12 short stories in The Strand Magazine established Sherlock Holmes as a star in the reading public’s firmament. Published together as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 1892, they were soon followed by a second anthology, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Apparently, Conan Doyle found inspiration in one of his teachers at Edinburgh medical school, Dr Joseph Bell, who impressed with his powers of observation and deduction.

And on the 29th of this month, we see another significant anniversary for popular culture: Desert Island Discs celebrates 75 years on air with its first broadcast coming from a bomb-damaged studio in Maida Vale. The distinctive sound of ‘The Sleepy Lagoon’ fills the airwaves and listeners to the BBC Forces Programme hear Roy Plomley ask comedian and musician Vic Oliver, ‘If you were to be cast away alone on a desert island, which eight gramophone records would you choose to have with you?’ And so began a national institution.

In 1951, after a five-year break, the choice of a luxury was introduced and then a book and nothing much has changed since, except the presenters. After Roy Plomley’s death in 1985, Michael Parkinson took over for two years, then Sue Lawley stayed for 18 and Kirsty Young has been in the chair since October 2006. Well over 3,000 castaways from all walks of life have told the listening public about their lives and given away all sorts of secrets they may never have divulged without the influence of their special music and the interviewer’s gentle prompting.

Dairy Diary 2017These anniversary anecdotes are taken from the 2017 Dairy Diary. As well as listing the popular wedding anniversary gifts, it also features milestones from years gone by.

If you’ve missed out on your copy of the Dairy Diary, don’t worry, there’s still time to buy at





Get organised in 2017: 8 great ways to use your diary

Great ways to use your 2017 diary

8 great ways to use your 2017 diary

Dairy Diary 20171 Write all your ‘need-to-know’ information in the Useful Numbers section.
I find it really embarrassing that I can’t remember my car registration plate, but a quick peek in my diary reveals all!



Memorable dates stickers2 Use your dates reminder stickers to note everyone’s birthdays.
You’ll never miss that important date again.




Dairy Diary 20173 Jot non-local contacts’ details in the Family & Friends section of your diary.
Have you ever got to the post office to post a card or parcel only to realise that you don’t have the address details to hand?



Dairy Diary 2017 recipes4 Be more inventive at mealtimes.
We all get stuck in a rut, cooking the same meals week-in-week-out. Vow to cook the Dairy Diary recipe every week and discover a whole host of new favourites.

Dairy Diary 20175 For other meals, jot ideas on the relevant space in your diary.
You can easily see what you’re planning to cook and write your shopping list accordingly.

6 This may seem obvious but write everything down, yes everything!
If it’s on paper it’s out of your head and gives you a better sense of wellbeing.

Diary Diary 2017 notes7 Keep all your jottings in one place.
Instead of scribbled lists on various different pieces of paper, write all your thoughts and ideas on the Notes pages at the back of your diary and you’ll always know where to find them.



notes-pocket8 This one may seem a little strange, but I’ll reveal it anyway!
Over the years I’ve discovered, with much trial and error, which colours suit me best (and the colour you wear can make a huge difference to how well you look), so I have a handy colour chart made from paint swatch cards hidden in the pocket of my diary for quick reference. Et voila, no more bad choices when clothes shopping!


It’s not too late to order your 2017 Dairy Diary!

On sale now for only £7.99!! Click here to find out more.






How to get an extra hour in bed!

Halloween Pumpkin Muffins

How to get an extra hour in bed!

Don’t forget to put your clocks back an hour tonight folks, and enjoy an extra hour in bed!

Or, if you’re awake early and have an extra hour to fill why not make these scrumptious streusel muffins.

Recipe of the Week: Pumpkin Streusel Muffins


Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

  • Servings: makes 12
  • Time: 75 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 288 per portion
Fat 12g (7.1g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Butter 150g (5oz)
  • Plain flour 300g (11oz)
  • Baking powder 2 tsp
  • Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
  • Caster sugar 110g (4oz)
  • Eggs 2 large, beaten
  • Milk 200ml (7fl oz)
  • Pumpkin 275g (10oz), peeled, deseeded and grated
  • Raisins 75g (3oz)
  • Self-raising flour 50g (2oz)
  • Demerara sugar 50g (2oz)


  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/170°fan/Gas 5 and place 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin. Melt 110g (4oz) butter.
  2. In a large mixing bowl sift plain flour, baking powder and cinnamon, then stir in caster sugar. Make a well in centre and pour in eggs, milk and melted butter. Stir until just combined, then fold in pumpkin and raisins. Spoon into muffin cases.
  3. In a separate bowl rub remaining butter into self-raising flour then stir in demerara sugar. Sprinkle over batter in cases then bake for 30-40 minutes until risen and golden.
  4. Leave in muffin tin for 5 minutes then cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.

Dairy Diary 2017For lots more gorgeous recipes like this why not treat yourself to the 2017 Dairy Diary.

Only £7.99!! Click here to find out more.









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