Top Tips

Valentine’s Day with a Difference plus Win a Gorgeous Bouquet

Happy Valentine's Day

Never too old for love


Valentine’s Day gives us the perfect excuse to show how much we care – may it be a partner, friend or even children.

We don’t have to go for the cliched three-course candlelit dinner, however, why not do something different together instead?

I’m going to bake some goodies and tackle a beautiful fell with my loved ones.

One of the best feelings ever is to sit atop a peak, admiring the view with the people I cherish (eating something rather delicious is pretty high on my list of loves too!!)

These two scrummy recipes are taken from our brilliant Cook it Slowly cookbook.

Valentines Day recipes

Cheddar & Veg Pasties

Blueberry & Orange Loaf

 

Win a bouquetWin a gorgeous bouquet for your loved one!

Nominate a loved one who you think deserves a treat, and if your entry is chosen, we will send them a gorgeous bouquet.

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Categories:

Is 2020 a Leap Year?

2020 leap year 29 February

Is 2020 a Leap Year? Yes!


I have many ways of memorising different dates, but for leap years, the easiest way to remember it is that the millennium was a leap year. And therefore, any multiples of 4 after that date will be a leap year.

We need leap years to keep our modern-day calendar in alignment with the earth’s revolutions around the sun.

It takes earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes,
and 45 seconds to circle once around the sun.

Having studied the history of maths at university (yes, I did have to precede the lectures with an early night and strong coffee), I find the decisions made by our ancestors to create the modern calendar quite fascinating. They didn’t have telescopes or computers to help them but instead had to work from observations and inferences.

 

The Gregorian Calendar

The ancient Roman calendar added an extra month every few years to keep in line with the seasons until Roman general Julius Caesar introduced the first leap year. But his Julian calendar had only one rule: any year evenly divisible by four would be a leap year. This formula produced way too many leap years. It was not corrected until the introduction of the Gregorian calendar more than 1,500 years later.

Aloysus Lilius
Aloysus Lilius

The Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII from advice given by Italian scientist Aloysus Lilius. Aloysus Lilius was a philosopher, astronomer and all-round very clever guy who we must thank for making our diaries work perfectly. Or almost………

Even adding a leap day every four years, the figures are actually out by 26 seconds per year. So, by the year 4,909 it will need rectifying by a day. But I don’t think that’s something that we at Dairy Diary need to worry about planning just yet (we just have to deal with last-minute decisions to move Bank Holidays by Governments instead!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#leapyear

#29february

Make yours a 2020 to remember

Could-Do-List-2020

The new Roaring Twenties are now in full swing and many of us will be trying to stick to those tricky New Year’s Resolutions.

This year, I’ve decided to make an alternative affirmation, and rather than list the things I shouldn’t do (eat chocolate/drink wine!), instead I’ve made a list of the things I would love to do this year.

This list is without pressure; its title is the ‘Could Do’ list, which means that it would be lovely to achieve but is not essential. That way, I don’t feel as though I have failed if I don’t tick off everything on my list – quite the opposite of a Resolution, which I so often fail at.

The Could Do List comprises things that
I would really love to do in 2020.

With the caveat that they are attainable (take 6 months off for an around the world trip is not on my list!)

I made my list over several days, and when I thought of something else that I really fancy doing, I added it. It’s at the back of my Dairy Diary so that I can refer to it or add to it whenever I choose.

Ranging from the small things (bake bread) so the larger goals (plan a long-haul holiday) I’ve tried to include ideas that will enrich my life and improve my wellbeing (slow down and be calmer). Thus aiming for a happy and healthy 2020.

Why not open your diary today and make your ‘Could Do List’.

It could change your 2020 for the better!

 


 

2020 Dairy Diary A5 weeo-to-view diaryIf you don’t have your diary yet don’t worry,
Dairy Diaries are still available.

 

BUY NOW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Spooktacular Halloween recipes

Halloween recipes

Carving a pumpkin for Halloween?

Then you’ll love these two recipes, which use pumpkin flesh and seeds, so nothing goes to waste.

You will find fun pumpkin carving tips below plus discover the origins of Halloween. Enjoy.

Halloween recipes Frittata and Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin, Chorizo & Sage Frittata

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

 

These creepy brownie bars are the perfect offering for Trick or Treaters who may come calling on Thursday.

Chocolate Brownie Graveyard Bars

 

Buy 2020 Dairy DiaryAll three recipes are from the Dairy Diary.

The iconic Dairy Diary 2020 is an A5, week-to-view diary featuring weekly inspirational recipes. Practical and pretty, it’s the perfect 2020 diary for planning your busy life.

For more recipes and/or to order your copy for just £8.75 click here.

 


Pumpkin carving fun with your children

Halloween carved pumpkinChoose your pumpkin – a large, ripe pumpkin that has smooth, even surfaces and sits comfortably without danger of rolling over is best.

Sketch your pattern on paper to suit the size and shape of your pumpkin. If you’re not artistic, use a stencil or template.

Make the lid by drawing a 125mm (5″) circle on the top. Cut out the lid with the saw/blade at an angle – leaning slightly to the outside – this will stop the lid dropping inside. Remove the lid and clean its base.

For a carving tool, we recommend a pumpkin saw. If you’re using a knife (small and sharp) carve gently and steadily, making a few gentle strokes for each cut.

The kids can remove the inside – they love this slimy job and can easily remove all the seeds and mushy stuff. Then you can takeover scraping with a spoon or ice-cream scoop. Thin walls make carving easier, but don’t make them too thin or the pumpkin will collapse. Make the base inside flat to accommodate a candle.

Apply your pattern by copying freehand onto the clean, dry pumpkin with a marker/pen/pencil or tape your paper pattern to the pumpkin and mark the design by poking holes through the pattern.

Let’s carve – adults only if you’re using a knife! Carefully begin at the centre of your pattern and work outward – small shapes first. The kids can push out the shapes as you go. Lastly ensure the pumpkin sits stably without danger of rolling.

Light up – place a tea-light in the base. Ensure the candle is level and carefully light it. Always extinguish the candle when leaving the room.

 


The origins of Halloween

The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.*

Until 2,000 years ago, the Celts lived across the lands we now know as Britain, Ireland and northern France. Essentially a farming and agricultural people, the Pre-Christian Celtic year was determined by the growing seasons and Samhain marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark cold winter. The festival symbolised the boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead.

It was believed by the Celts that on the night of 31st October, ghosts of their dead would revisit the mortal world and large bonfires were lit in each village in order to ward off any evil spirits that may also be at large.

The night or evening of Samhain became known as All-hallows-even then Hallow Eve, still later Hallowe’en and then of course Halloween.

A special time of the year when many believe that the spirit world can make contact with the physical world, a night when magic is at its most potent.

Throughout Britain, Halloween has traditionally been celebrated by children’s games such as bobbing for apples in containers full of water, telling ghost stories and the carving of faces into hollowed-out vegetables such as swedes and turnips. These faces would usually be illuminated from within by a candle, the lanterns displayed on window sills to ward off any evil spirits. The current use of pumpkins is a relatively modern innovation imported from the United States.

*Halloween by Ben Johnson

 

#TripleTested

#DairyDiaryRecipe

Categories: 

Helping to reduce plastic

Dairy Diary Shopping Bag

Doing a bit for the environment needn’t be difficult – here are two easy ways to help

New for this year, a gorgeous cotton shopping bag to match your Dairy Diary!

Taking a reusable bag with you and opting out of using plastic carrier bags is easy (and stylish too if you buy one of these!)

It’s roomy enough for a few impromptu purchases or groceries, but it folds flat so that you can carry it in your handbag.

Shopping Bag

View the Dairy Diary Shopping Bag

 

Switch to glass milk bottles

And, of course, if you would like your milk in glass rather than plastic, get a milkman.

Find a milkman

Simply go to findmeamilkman.net and you can find a local delivery.

They will sell Dairy Diaries too. Win win!

 

#reduceplastic

 

 

Learn something new!

Try something new

Be inspired to discover new pastimes

 

More than just a diary; the Dairy Diary features a fabulous and triple-tested recipe every single week.

AND a myriad of information and feature pages – 50 pages to be precise – to inform and interest its readers.

Here, I share a really interesting feature from the 2020 edition. I hope you feel inspired.

 


 

Learn something new

Do you have a secret ambition to speak Greek, make jewellery, throw a pot, grow tomatoes, knit a Dr Who scarf, build a drystone wall, take fabulous photographs, dig up the past? Or perhaps your inner adventurer yearns to learn the salsa in Cuba. Whatever it is, now’s the time to do it.

If you accept the challenge of learning something new, you’ll quickly discover the benefits that giving the brain a workout can bring.

It’s no exaggeration to say that it can be life-changing, although absorbing and enjoyable are probably more to the point. It’s great to feel you’re spending your leisure time doing something worthwhile and, who knows, you may discover a talent you didn’t know you had.

Once embarked on your quest for knowledge, you often get to meet like-minded people, and making new friends is always a joy. Any incipient boredom is staved off and with an active mind you tend to adapt more quickly to life’s inevitable changes. And, by no means least, the sense of satisfaction you feel when making progress is second to none, a real confidence booster.

Whether your reasons for taking the plunge (literally, if learning to swim is high on your list) are any or all of the above or to increase job prospects, for personal development or just to be happier, there’s no time like the present.

 

Have a go

What to learn and to what level may decide themselves, or not, but they still need considering carefully. Learn a language? Great! But which one? Where do you go on holiday most often? That may be the one. Do you feel an affinity to a specific language and think you’ll find it easier to pick up than some others? That may be the one. Take your time to decide.

Be inspired but realistic when deciding what level of commitment you are prepared, or able, to give. Dropping out is not a good feeling (despite any initial relief). Why not try a day or weekend course before committing to anything longer term? Fun and friendly, it may well lead on to bigger things if you want it to. In any case, knowledge is never wasted.

You could even combine dipping your toe in the learning water with a holiday – a relaxed state of mind, no day-to-day distractions, nothing else pressing to do. Sound good? Take a look at ‘learning something new’ on responsibletravel.com for ideas and possibilities galore. Whatever you want to do, it’s all there for the discovering.

 

 

Where to look

The internet is awash with online courses and video instruction, although that cuts out the social aspect of lifelong learning. Check for local opportunities but for more specialist activities, you may have to go farther afield. For courses in every craft imaginable, from wood turning to soap making, around the country, check craftcourses.com

The Open University
Flexible in-depth learning with a degree to show for it. Most courses have no formal entry requirements, you have a tutor and student support group.

Open Learn
Nearly 1000 free courses produced by the Open University in eight subject areas, and you can start right away.

U3A (University of the Third Age)
Great for socialising while learning for anyone no longer in full-time employment. Join your local branch for classes and activities arranged by the members for the members.

Museums and galleries (such as the V&A)
‘Spend a weekend, a term or a whole year learning from the experts.’ Subjects reflect the Museum’s collections. Check specialist museums, too. For example, the Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick (derwentart.com) runs drawing classes and workshops.

The National Trust
runs courses in all sorts of subjects from gardening and wood carving to rag rugging and photography. The Hayloft Learning Centre at Knole in Kent offers a whole range of traditional skills, such as stained glass and perfume making. Look for others along the same lines.

Craft material suppliers
Many offer courses, in sewing, for example, jewellery making, cake decorating.

Learn a language
If you want to learn a language, try Duolingo (fun and free).

 

 

 

 

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