Top Tips

Bring a little joy every day

Discover new walks

Even for the most optimistic among us, it’s been challenging to remain cheerful over the past few months

 

There are ways however, to bring a little joy into our lives each day – tiny things we can do to add some colour and relieve the monotony of lockdown.

 

  1. Wear your wardrobe

Not all at once, obviously! Work your way through your wardrobe from right to left (or left to right if you prefer) wearing a different outfit every day. Obviously summer clothes are not ideal right now so place them at the other end, but otherwise enjoy everything that you own.

Try new outfit combinations, wear a glam dress with thick tights and boots; have fun with what you wear rather than reaching for the same old jeans and jumper. I have given myself the challenge of buying no new clothes for a whole year (this is a HUGE challenge for me!) and have found that this method helps me to love what I own all over again.

 

  1. Discover new walks

It’s all too easy to fall into the routine of the same walking route every day. But even in your own corner of Britain, there’s bound to be a new route to be discovered. Dust off an old Ordnance Survey map and take a look at what public footpaths surround you, or visit walking-routes.co.uk or walkingbritain.co.uk for new ideas.

When out walking, notice nature – listen to birdsong, watch the ducks on the pond, or look out for crocus and snowdrops as they begin to appear. This mindful activity helps to focus the mind on positive things, rather than negative.

Take time to love the sunset
  1. Connect with your local community

Join your local Facebook group and share uplifting photographs of the walks you have enjoyed or snippets of local history that you think locals may enjoy. Or make a batch of marmalade and put it in a basket in front of your home for passers by to help themselves.

 

  1. Put on your favourite lipstick

Be the most glamorous in town when you go on your daily wanderings (avoid this when shopping though – lipstick and a face mask are not the best combination!) And smile at everyone you pass. A cheerful ‘hello’ can mean a lot to someone who may not have conversed with anyone that day.

 

  1. Phone/Whatsapp/Facetime a friend

A catch-up and a good laugh, reminiscing about good times, is a wonderful tonic, and proven to lower stress levels.

 

You may even want to nominate your friend to receive a beautiful bouquet; we’re giving one away this month

Take a look at our Facebook page for more info.

 

Emily Davenport
Emily Davenport
Read more in the 

The Art of Calm

The art of calm

In many ways, our lives are more taxing than ever before, and in particular, the past year has put much more stress on us all

 

Making an effort to incorporate moments of calm into your day can have positive effects for mind and body, including enhanced concentration and contentment.

There’s no denying that modern life can be stressful. Faced with longer working hours and the magnetic tug of our smartphones, choosing calm in the midst of chaos can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task. In today’s technology-oriented society, it can be tricky to stay connected in the present. We are faced with a flood of information, whether in the form of news, television programmes, app notifications or messages from friends heralded by our buzzing smartphones. While being more connected than ever does have its benefits, it can also leave us aching for a quiet moment to ourselves.

It’s not the being calm itself that is difficult,
but remembering to slow down.

Should you find yourself stressed because you’ve taken on too much or your day has veered off course, taking a moment to gather your thoughts can be hugely beneficial for your state of mind. Opting to stay calm is a mindful act; a choice to be present and aware.

The best thing about adding mindful moments into your day is that over time, you will form a new habit. What’s more, it doesn’t have to mean retreating to a dark room to recite rounds of ‘om’. It can be as simple as you like and adapted around your routine so that it becomes as much a part of the day as the school run or boiling the kettle.

Just breathe

Paying attention to the breath is one of the simplest ways to introduce calm when your mind is racing. A round of deep breaths instantly slows the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight or flight response.

Set an alarm on your phone or computer for a time when you know you might be feeling swamped, like returning after lunch to a full inbox. Choose a calming tone – a bell or singing birds – to sound the alarm, and to differentiate it from the beeps of notifications. When the alarm chimes, inhale deeply for at least four breaths to relieve tension. As you breathe in, become aware of the sensations in your body. Exhale for four beats. Repeat regularly.

Listen deeply

Instead of focusing on your noisy thoughts, try concentrating on the sounds in your surroundings. Pay attention to whatever you can hear, noticing chirping birds or the white noise of the washing machine. Awakening this sense will lead you to notice the beauty in the present, in all its fullness.

Slowly does it

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can help to tackle each item on your to-do list in a conscious way by ‘mono-tasking’. Say to yourself: “I’m going to do the washing-up for 10 minutes” or “I’ll answer emails for 15 minutes”. This can bring order to what might seem like a never-ending list.

Go with the green

Spending time in nature relaxes the mind and body. Research has proven that just being among trees lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body and can have beneficial effects on blood pressure and heart rate. You don’t need to trek to your nearest forest to reap the benefits, either. Watering the plants or sipping your morning coffee outside can be just as soothing.

 

The art of calm

Use your imagination

Visualisation may sound a little out there if you’ve never tried it, but it can be a fantastic way to reduce stress. It is the practice of imagining yourself in a safe, peaceful state, in a place that makes you feel relaxed. The human mind is astonishingly powerful, and by visualising tranquillity you will start to invoke calming feelings in the body, relieving tension.

The power of visualisation has been backed by science as studies have found that the mere act of imagining creates new neural pathways. Set a 1-minute timer and imagine yourself in a place that makes you feel serene. Repeat throughout the day for best results.

Savour suppertime

Ever find yourself wolfing down dinner without really focusing on what you’re eating? Mealtimes, given how routinely they occur, offer a superb opportunity to practise slowing down. Switch off autopilot and take your time noticing the texture, flavours and aromas of your meal. Eating more slowly will also do wonders for your digestion.

Give yourself permission…

…to embrace imperfection. So much of the pressure we heap on ourselves is about reaching unattainable standards of perfection. You might be surprised to find there’s joy in the not-quite-perfect. The Japanese have a word for this – wabi-sabi – which realises that the only constants in life are the three ‘i’s: impermanence, imperfection and incompleteness.

Once we realise that nothing lasts and nothing can ever be perfect or ‘finished’, ourselves included, we free up our minds to focus on the present. And in so doing, adopting the art of calm suddenly feels much more achievable!

 

Emily Davenport
Emily Davenport

I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

6 Positive New Year’s Resolutions

Hike for health

2020 has certainly been a year to remember, and it has affected every one of us in many different ways

 

Rather than deprive ourselves of things in 2021, here I’ve written a list of six ideas for mood-boosting resolutions; suggestions to lift the spirits.

1. Cherish memories

Memories are one of the most precious things we have – find old photos that remind you of happy times and make an album or upload pics to a printing website and create a photo book (I did this during lockdown and sent them to my closest friends, who I’ve missed so much over the past year).
     Or you could choose your favourite images and order canvases to hang on your wall. This photograph was taken on one of our favourite walks in Gower, where we holiday most years.
     YouTube is a great place to keep family videos. You can keep your account private and just share it with friends and family. We have been watching films from when the children were tiny (one’s now a teenager). They guarantee a smile and a giggle – they grow up too fast!
Cherish memories

2. Be creative

Making something lovely gives such a sense of achievement; even more so if you give it to someone else to love. Find your ‘niche’ and revel in your creative abilities – everyone has a talent. It could be baking something gorgeous, sewing, knitting, painting, calligraphy, photography – the list is endless. I studied printmaking at university and have recently come back to it after years being too busy with young children. Printing my own Christmas cards was a really rewarding experience and reminded me how much I love the craft.
Be creative

3. Expand your culinary horizons

Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, cooking the same meals week-in, week-out; choose a different cookbook each week to try one or two recipes from (take a look at the range of cookbooks we have available). Or give yourself the challenge of cooking the weekly recipe from your Dairy Diary each and every week!

4. Bake bread

It doesn’t have to be a fancy loaf – simply buy some bread flour and follow the recipe on the packet. The method of mixing and kneading – and of course enjoying the final result – is incredibly therapeutic.

5. Play a game

It’s easy to settle into a mundane routine; doing the same thing every day. Instead of watching tv one evening, play a card game or aboard game. In our house, we love the old favourites but have also discovered some great newer games recently too. The Genius Square is fun for all ages (and can get quite competitive too!)
Yoga for positivity

6. Enjoy feel-good exercise

Get those endorphins flowing with exercise. It has to be something you enjoy, or you’ll never stick to it. I’ve recently discovered Box Fit, which I LOVE; once an alien concept for anything fitness-related. It could be hiking or yoga, Zumba or swimming, anything that makes you smile while you’re doing it, and gives you that fuzzy afterglow. There may be times when lockdown pauses the possibility, just take it up again when it’s allowed.

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Emily Davenport
Emily Davenport

I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

Make your own bag for odd-shaped gifts!

Make your own bag for odd shaped gifts!

We show you how to wrap those odd-shaped items with a little gift wrap folding magic

Simply follow the instructions using the link below:

Make your own bag for odd-shaped gifts!

 

You can also download the instructions as an Infographic:
Download Infographic 7MB
Download Infographic 1MB

 

 

Emma Snow
Emma Snow

I am the Brand Executive for Dairy Diary. A passionate foodie (with a very sweet-tooth). Who likes to blog about all things DIY & scrumptious recipes.

Top Tips for the Perfect Christmas Cake

The perfect Christmas Cake

Making the Christmas cake is a precious part of the festive period; a tradition I always look forward to.

 

With Christmas music and the twinkle of fairy lights (yes I even have a tree in the kitchen!) in the background, stirring and decorating the cake is joyful.

I favour a slightly lighter cake and always use the classic Boiled Fruit Cake recipe, which our customers have been baking for decades.

I’ve heard many lovely stories about people using this recipe for weddings and special birthdays as well as Christmas.

Once the cake is cold, apply a thin layer of marzipan:
1. Sprinkle icing sugar onto a clean work surface and onto a rolling pin.
2. Roll out 300g (10oz) marzipan to about 3mm (1/8in) thick.
3. Brush the top of the cake with warm plum or apricot jam.
4. Place the cake upside down on the marzipan and push down slightly. Cut around the cake about 1cm (1/3in) larger than its top.
5. Turn the cake over and press the marzipan down all around the top.
6. Measure the height of the cake and re-roll the marzipan into a long strip to the same size.
7. Brush the sides of the cake with the jam and then roll the marzipan around the circumference, sticking it to the cake as you go.

And for the icing:
1. Whisk 2 egg whites in a mixing bowl until frothy and then beat in 450g (1lb) icing sugar, a little at a time. You can use an electric whisk for this at first but then use a wooden spoon or the icing sugar will cover you and the kitchen!
2. Beat in 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp glycerine.
3. Spread all over the cake; to the desired texture and allow to firm up.

For the decoration:
This is personal to you. I’ve added gingerbread stars (here’s a gorgeous recipe for these) and sugar snowflakes, a dusting of icing sugar and finished with a ribbon, but choose what you like most – you could use some wintry foliage, or dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks, or the classic cake decorations you have used for years.

With my mum I would decorate the cake with a snowy scene adorned with little pottery snowmen and figures on sledges – I think some were older than me! Mum tells me she still has them, so I’ve requested them for next year’s cake. Happy memories.

 

 

Emily Davenport

Emily Davenport

I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

Stocking fillers under £10

Christmas Gifts from Dairy Diary

Are you struggling for ideas when it comes to friends and family this festive season?  

 

We have a range of lovely gifts that are under £10!

Year after year, we keep costs down and strive to improve our products to bring our customers the best quality Diary, Cookbooks and Accessories (that will put a smile on a loved one’s face at Christmas time). 

Here’s our top five (there are of course lots more, have a browse of our website for inspiration)

 
 

Number one must be the iconic Dairy Diary!

At only £8.85 this excellent value for money diary is sure to be top of their list this year, and an essential kitchen item. Packed full of delicious recipes, cook’s tips, interesting features and plenty of writing space, whilst featuring a gorgeous cover. What’s not to love?

Dairy Diary 2021

 

 

Number two is the brand-new hardback cookbook

A Zest for Life! Containing 79 delicious, nutritious recipes that will put a spring in your stride. From bountiful breakfasts and weekend specials to tempting bakes. Only £9.99.

A Zest for Life

Number three is our fabulous Wall Planner

It’s an essential every kitchen wall. By very popular request we have now made these available to purchase for everyone, not just trade customers. A double-sided calendar with 6 months to view each side and a gorgeous recipe image. Only £2.00 for 2 wall planners.

Wall Planner 2021

 

 

Number 4 has got to be Just for One or Two

Immensely popular, it contains inspiration for easy, delicious meals – the ideal cookbook for singles, couples, students and parents. Showing you how to cook delicious meals for one or two people with little effort and minimal waste. Only £8.25.

Just for One or Two

 

 

Number 5 is our limited-edition Tote Shopping Bag

It’s roomy enough for groceries or a few cheeky spur-of-the-moment purchases, but also folds flat so that it will easily fit into a handbag. And the pretty design – and Dairy Diary logo – is featured on both sides. Only £6.99.

Tote Shopping Bag

 

 

 

Emma Snow
Emma Snow

I am the Brand Executive for Dairy Diary. A passionate foodie (with a very sweet-tooth). Who likes to blog about all things DIY & scrumptious recipes.

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