Top Tips

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).

 

 

 

 

Categories:

Top 20 Could-Do List for the Summer Holidays

Top 20 Could-Do List for the Summer Holidays

For those grandparents, parents, friends and relatives who all pitch in to help with childcare during the endless summer holidays, it can be a real challenge coming up with activities that don’t cost a fortune.

Together with my little helpers, we have come up with 20 ideas for fun and purse-friendly things to do.

I’d love to hear your suggestions too!

  1. On a sunny day and using an old oilcloth tablecloth or plastic sheet, create a garden ‘slide’ with water and washing up liquid.
  2. Find out what exhibitions are on at your local museums/art galleries/National Trust and choose your favourite. We’re going to the portrait exhibition at Attingham Park and the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at Liverpool museum.
  3. Create your own artwork or sculpture inspired by your visit. Be as creative as possible with colour and materials.
  4. Travel by train somewhere new (if you get a Friends & Family railcard, this reduces the cost).
  5. Create an obstacle course in the garden.
  6. Climb a hill and take a photograph at the top.
  7. Create a mosaic collage of the picture taken above using different coloured papers and/or cuttings from magazines.
  8. Have a board games tournament. One of our new favourites is Genius Squares – it’s kept my children (and me!) amused for ages and you can’t beat the old favourite Cranium.
  9. Play tennis or badminton at your local park/leisure centre.
  10. Ride bikes along quiet local roads or paths and reward yourselves with an ice cream from a shop on route.Top 20 Could-Do List for the Summer Holidays
  11. Make Chocolate Apples: add a lolly stick to small apples and coat in melted chocolate.
  12. Take a picnic to the seaside. Paddle amongst the waves, play ball, balance stones, create sand sculpture and look for life in rockpools.
  13. Paint faces with a festival vibe.
  14. Take part in the Summer Reading Challenge at your local library.
  15. Put on their favourite tunes and get household chores done together.
  16. Draw ‘alien animals’: each person has a piece of paper. Start by drawing hair/hat then fold over to hide it and pass on, then draw a head etc. Laugh at what curious creatures you create when you unfold each piece of paper.
  17. Create a pot or hanging basket and encourage them to water it and deadhead the flowers over the summer.
  18. Contact your local leisure centre to find out about their planned summer events. They often hold sports activity days and fun swims during the holidays.
  19. Snuggle under a blanket together and watch your favourite family film.
  20. Make Rocky Road Cookies (recipe below).

Gorgeous handmade foodie gifts for Christmas: Rocky Road Cookies

Rocky Road Cookies

GO TO RECIPE

This recipe is taken from my favourite of our cookbooks; Fantastic Food for Less.

It’s packed with loads of really delicious meals, which cost little to make.

To find out more click here.

Have a wonderful time creating lasting memories!

 

 

 

 

#ChildrensActivities
#WhatToDoInSummer
#Bake

The Ultimate Travel Checklist

The Essential Travel Checklist

Don’t travel without it!


I’m sure we have all experienced the stress of packing for a holiday, add a few children into the mix and the task can be huge.

To help we have created The UltimateTravel Checklist.

The first page ticks off all the essentials and the second page has lots of blanks to allow you to personalise your checklist to suit your family’s needs.

 

DOWNLOAD & PRINT THE CHECKLIST

 

The Essential Travel Checklist from Dairy Diary

 

 

 

 

#holidaypacking

 

 

 

 

 

Categories:

10 easy ways to be kind to the environment

10 easy ways to be kind to the environment

I’ve listened to a couple of really interesting interviews on radio 4 recently.

The first was from a campaigner who highlighted the damage that the fashion industry does to the environment; it’s the second largest polluter on the planet, after the oil industry.

And the second was with a scientist who is leading the way with research into the affects of plastics breaking down and entering the food chain of marine life. His most interesting point was not to demonise plastic; stating that it can be very useful, but that we should all be using packaging etc multiple times.

The throw-away culture highlighted by both these experts is a sad and worrying symptom of modern times and something that we should all think about.

I’m certainly doing my bit (as follows)
but plan to really think more about how
we can throw away less and re-use more.

Get a milkman/lady! This is not new news to Dairy Diary customers; but nonetheless a no-brainer with re-usable of packaging. The doorstep industry has been re-using glass bottles for decades.

ALWAYS take with you a water bottle and an insulated cup. Then, if you need a drink on-the-go you have no need for throw away items.

Think before you buy: do I REALLY love it or really NEED it. If the answer is no, don’t buy it. My ‘thing’ has always been new clothes but now I really carefully consider every purchase and make sure I buy quality that will last.

If you have pets, buy biodegradable bags for cat and dog ‘poop’ (I use the ones for food compost waste).

Buy bars of soap rather than hand wash and shower gel. You can often buy gorgeous smelling soaps at local markets.

Buy vintage soap dishes (see above). Modern sinks are not great at gripping bars of soap.

Invest in ‘sorting’ bins – ideally one for upstairs as well as downstairs. Bins with two compartments or more make it much easier to recycle as you simply choose the appropriate compartment when you no longer need something.

Keep a reusable shopping bag in your handbag and a few in your car boot. Then you’ll always have some to hand when you need them. And if you would like a really pretty one, take a look at our Dairy Diary shopping bag.

Use sandwich boxes (not bags or cling film) for packed lunches and for storing leftovers.

Rinse and fill old cleaning bottles with solutions of vinegar, essential oils etc. There are loads of recipes online for homemade cleaning products.

 


 

READ BLOG ON THE DAIRY DIARY WEBSITE

 

#recycling

#recycle

‘Exercise for fun’ is not an oxymoron

Fitness for fun

Exercise for fun?

As the one always picked last in PE at school, I used to be something of exercise-phobic. I associated sport with humiliation and discomfort.

But now I have become something of a fitness evangelist!

Finding something that I enjoy, feel comfortable doing and can see the benefit from has been a revelation.

And if I can…..anyone can!

My joyful gym just happens to be a local place that runs various different fitness classes. It’s really hard work, but I’ve been made so welcome and had all my tiny successes applauded (not literally, just with a ‘well done mate’) rather than ridiculed that it’s kept me going back. And I feel fitter, healthier and happier as a consequence.

It just goes to show that you just need to find your ‘thing’.

 

From this feature in this year’s Dairy Diary, we explain how….

 


 

How to exercise and have fun!

A large dose of the feel-good factor never goes amiss and one quick way to access it is to get moving. What better motivation is there to maintain suppleness and fitness levels than to have a fabulous time while you’re doing it? Give it a try!

When it comes to exercise, everyone has their likes and dislikes so choosing the right class is essential. There are plenty available and chances are at least one will suit you. Why not give several a try? You may be surprised. Your respiratory system, cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone will be all the better for it, and you’re sure to come out smiling because all that exercise releases endorphins, the happy hormones.

Aerobics, body sculpt or legs, bums and tums do it for some people. Yoga, Pilates and tai chi are all excellent and self-absorbing, improving focus, balance and posture. Classes in the swimming pool help to build strength while putting less strain on your joints since the water provides both resistance and support.

You can get rid of a lot of pent-up emotion, and lose weight, with boxing training, but if letting rip in a less aggressive way is your main enjoyment factor, think about the pleasures of moving to music. Even if clubbing is out of the question, dancing isn’t! It’s fun and sociable, and while you’re gyrating as energetically as you like, you’re getting a seriously good workout.

 

Dancing for fitness

The trend of combining dance and exercise has caught on in a big way

Dance, dance, dance

The trend of combining dance and exercise has caught on in a big way. Getting fit has never been so much fun. Find a Clubbercise class near you and see if you agree. Luminous glow sticks at the ready, cue music and away you go. If you’re not fit before you go, you soon will be. There probably is a routine but under dim disco lighting, no one can see if a shape or two turns out not quite as expected.

Zumba is another where you follow an instructor as best as you can, this time to fast moving Latin rhythms.

For fans of the music of 1930s and ’40s America, swing is the one, made even better if you dress in style – swirly skirt at the ready. Swingtrain classes are billed as ‘high-intensity dance cardio workouts’, but they add ‘suitable for all levels of fitness’ – and everyone has got to start somewhere!

Swing evolved into jive and ceroc and although you need a partner for these, you may well find one at the class since it’s not unusual for people to go on their own.

You definitely need a partner for salsa, which is a mixture of Afro-Caribbean and Latin styles and as flirtatious as you would like it to be.

Tap, line and ballroom dancing are all more structured – you have to concentrate so your co-ordination skills get a workout, too – and if you fancy something really different, give belly dancing a go, especially good for toning deep core, pelvic and hip muscles, or Bollywood style, blending classical Indian dance with hip hop and jazz.

So why not give it a whirl and find out what fun this exercise business really can be? Check websites for classes and availability near you.

Private workout

If you can’t make a class, or prefer not to, there’s no need to miss out. Through the NHS website (NHS Fitness Studio) you can access videos of various exercise workouts, including La Bomba (which is a combination of dance moves set to Latin American dance music, hip hop, Afrobeats and R&B), and belly dancing for beginners.

Try them out in the privacy of your own home. Invite friends round to join in, have a party and laugh yourself fit!

 

WEBSITES

areyoudancing.com

dancenearyou.co.uk

exercisemovedance.org

jazzercise.co.uk

nhs.uk

swingtrain.com

 

 

 

 

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