Take the stress out of Christmas

For many of us, Christmas is about looking after everyone else, but not ourselves

The seemingly endless to-do list can make the festive period fraught and stressful. 

Put yourself under less pressure this year and enjoy the run-up to the big day. 

Try these top tips to take the stress out of Christmas.


Emily Davenport

Head of Dairy Diary; I’m passionate about producing high quality products that our customers will cherish. I’m also a mum of three and I enjoy cooking, walking, gardening and art with my family, as well as lino printing (if I find time!)

Win a Dairy Diary luxury hamper

Tips to make your own personalised hamper gift

Hampers can be the ultimate personalised gift. They are great fun to put together, super exciting to receive and can be the perfect gift for the hard to buy for person.

Take a look at our top tips for putting your own hamper together…

Think of a theme

Food & drink is the immediate thought for a hamper but what about a chocolate hamper, a baking theme or foods from a particular country or region? Consider your recipient’s hobbies and interests – maybe gardening, a favourite sport, crafting or a movie night hamper? Maybe a busy friend would appreciate a relaxing hamper made up of a favourite magazine, some nice tea, chocolates, bath salts?

Decide on a budget

If you are on a budget, it’s easy to lose track when you are putting several items together so keep a note of what you have spent. Consider buying from second-hand shops or even making items yourself for an extra personal touch.

Be creative with your containers!

Don’t restrict yourself to using a traditional basket – a gardening hamper would look great in a large plant pot that would become part of the gift or a movie night hamper in a popcorn bucket? A cardboard shoebox covered in pretty paper is also a great option.

Fill your hamper

Play around with the arrangement of your hamper. Consider using filler to lift items and protect them. Scrunched up paper or shredded paper works well – you could cover it with tissue or wrapping paper to make it look pretty. You could also tape items to keep them in place.

Consider wrapping

Cellophane is generally used to wrap a hamper as it is see-through but consider if this is necessary. You could reduce the need for plastic by wrapping in paper or recycled fabric?



Enter our competition today for a chance to win a fabulous Dairy Diary hamper

Our hamper is designed to coordinate with the colour scheme of the 40th Anniversary Edition of the Dairy Diary and the Pocket Diary and Notebook.

It contains lots of delicious treats and goodies that we are sure you will love!


Katy Hackworth

I look after communications and marketing at Dairy Diary. I’m a busy mum and love home baking and cooking for my family. In my spare time I enjoy visiting the theatre, eating out with friends and exploring the great outdoors!

Stir-up Sunday

Tomorrow is known as Stir-up Sunday – the day when tradition suggests we should make our Christmas Pudding!

As with many of our festive traditions, Stir-up Sunday is a tradition that began in Victorian times. It gets its name from the beginning of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer, read on the last Sunday before Advent, which begins with the words, “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people”. This became a reminder to prepare the festive fayre.

The classic version of the pudding we know of today would traditionally contain 13 ingredients – representing Jesus and his twelve disciples.

Family members would take turns to stir the pudding with a wooden spoon (to represent the manger) from east to west, symbolising the journey of the Three Wise Men, whilst making a wish. Trinkets would often be added to the pudding before it was wrapped, steamed and stored away until Christmas Day.

Today there are a huge variety of Christmas Puddings to choose from.

Chocolate Orange Pud

If you fancy a change from the classic why not try this Chocolate Orange Pud, served with a delicious chocolate sauce from the 2022 Dairy Diary?

Christmas Pudding

If you prefer to stick with traditional flavours, the Christmas Pudding from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery is a tried and tested festive favourite.

Frozen Christmas Pudding

A beautiful alternative to Christmas pudding, or serve anytime as a decadent treat.

Win £150 Sophie Allport Voucher

While Christmas is on your mind, take this opportunity to enter our competition to win a Sophie Allport voucher worth £150.

Take a look at the beautifully festive homeware, gifts and decorations which would make your Christmas extra special at sophieallport.com


Katy Hackforth
I look after communications and marketing at Dairy Diary. I’m a busy mum and love home baking and cooking for my family. In my spare time I enjoy visiting the theatre, eating out with friends and exploring the great outdoors!

How helping others is healthy

You may recognise the expression “it’s better to give than receive”, but did you know this is backed up by research?

Cast your mind back to the last time you did something nice for somebody else. Do you remember how it felt when you saw their surprise, followed by a smile on their face? It made you feel pretty good, didn’t it?

There’s actually a scientific explanation for the buoyant
sensation that arises when we help another person out.

To begin understanding this, we must travel back to the time of our ancient ancestors. We are hardwired for connection and offering someone assistance in the days when humans lived on the savanna may have aided one’s own survival. If you offered a helping hand to someone in need, the hope was that maybe they’d help you out when you needed it most in the future.

Volunteer benefits

While assisting a friend might not confer the same survival benefits as it did in the distant past, studies show that helping others could contribute to a longer lifespan in other ways. Supporting others can reduce our own stress levels (leading to a lower risk of disease) and decrease loneliness, which can affect both physical and mental health.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, 1000s of people have become volunteers, either on a very local level, helping out neighbours through lockdown or through the government schemes which have been a valuable lifeline for many.

Volunteering on a regular basis also connects you to others and can increase your self-confidence in the process. By measuring brain activity in volunteers, researchers have even discovered that supporting others gives us great pleasure on a chemical level. Ergo, the more we give, the happier we feel!

Increase wellbeing

If a regular volunteering commitment is beyond you right now, try a small gesture. Smiling at a stranger, checking on a neighbour or leaving seeds out for the birds confers the same feel-good benefits.

Acts of kindness may also encourage others to repeat the good deeds they’ve experienced themselves – contributing to a more positive community!

So help others because you care and reap rewards that enrich your own sense of self in the process. It’s a win-win situation. So what are you waiting for?

Why helping other is healthy

Why helping others is healthy is one of the fascinating articles in the 2022 Dairy Diary and features 12 simple ways to help your family and community.

Katy Hackforth

I look after communications and marketing at Dairy Diary. I’m a busy mum and love home baking and cooking for my family. In my spare time I enjoy visiting the theatre, eating out with friends and exploring the great outdoors!

Make your own peanut butter for Peanut Butter Lover’s Month

How to make your own peanut butter for Peanut Butter Lover’s Month plus 3 perfectly peanuty recipes

The Incas and Aztecs (who we can also thank for chocolate) were the first to grind roasted peanuts into a paste but it was brought to mass-production in the USA by Kellogg’s (the cereal people), who patented peanut butter paste.

Surprisingly easy to make, you can create
your own peanut butter at home.

You only need three ingredients, a food processor and a jar to store it in (if it lasts that long!)

Peanut butter is SO versatile, you can use it in savoury dishes, such as a stir-fry or a soup. Or as a breakfast toast-topper, a sandwich filling or even use it to make an incredible dessert.

Here is a quick recipe for you to try, it’s palm oil free, contains no preservatives and is cheap to make!

Plain, unroasted peanuts 300g (11oz)
Honey 1 tsp (or to taste)
Salt ½ tsp (or to taste)
Sesame oil 1½tsp


1 Preheat oven to 200°C/180°fan/Gas 6.

2 Spread peanuts on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

3 Blend nuts in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Using a spatula, scrape peanuts down from the side of the processor every minute or so. This should take 3-4 minutes.

4 Add honey, salt and oil, then blend for another minute. Taste and add more honey and salt, if necessary.

5 Spoon peanut butter into a sterilised jar. Store in the fridge and use within two weeks.

Cook’s tip: Add ½ tsp cocoa powder with honey, salt and oil for a chocolatey flavour.

Here are some of our favourite recipes using peanut butter, for #PeanutButterLoversMonth, including two BRAND NEW recipes from our fabulous cookbook More Taste & Less Waste (which makes a brilliant Christmas gift!).


Peanut Butter & Popcorn Layer Cake 

Ice Box Caramel, Peanut & Banana Pies

Peanut Chocolate Slice & Bake Cookies

Emily Davenport

I post regular blogs featuring food, family and fun. Ideas for days out, crafty makes, health and home, plus giveaways and, of course, delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

Win a CleverChef Digital Multi-Cooker

Dairy Diary is giving you the chance to win this one-stop solution for perfectly cooked meals!

Introducing the 14-in-1, 5 Litre Multi-Cooker.

The settings on this clever device include Steam, Stew, Soup, Roast, Poach, Bread Rise, Bake, Fish, Saute/Brown, Rice, Pasta, Slow Cook High, Slow Cook Low and Yoghurt!!

The inner pot is non-stick and dishwasher safe so is easy to clean.

The five-litre capacity allows you to make meals for up to approximately 6 portions – perfect for family meals and batch cooking.

Just set and forget about it! Easy!

With so many functions you could choose any number of our delicious recipes to adapt – here is just one to start with…

Spiced Sweet Potato Soup

Spiced Sweet Potato Soup is a delicious comfort food recipe from A Zest For Life cookbook.

Spiced Sweet Potato Soup

To enter visit the competitions page.

Good Luck!

Katy Hackforth

I look after communications and marketing at Dairy Diary. I’m a busy mum and love home baking and cooking for my family. In my spare time I enjoy visiting the theatre, eating out with friends and exploring the great outdoors!

%d bloggers like this: