Tag Archives: Gift

Garden Revamp in 4 Simple Steps

Win £50 Garden Voucher

Fabulous Front Garden Revamp in 4 Simple Steps

Plus WIN a £50 garden voucher

Whilst rambling cottage gardens and wildflower meadows have a beautiful carefree charm, I also really love the pattern and uniformity of municipal gardens and even town roundabouts – try to see beauty wherever you can is my motto!

For many modern houses, this regimented type of planting can work really well, particularly in the front garden where space is often limited.

I love this Rainbow Fan idea from our Seasonal Garden Ideas book and plan to try this to cheer up a drab patch of soil underneath one of our windows. Here’s how to create it:

 


 

RAINBOW FAN

Summer annuals are unrivalled for the colour they can bring to the garden – it’s no wonder they are so popular for bedding schemes. Here petunias and marigolds have been planted in a rainbow fan of brilliant colour.

Plant in early summer when all danger of frost is past. The bed should flower throughout the summer. Set aside most of a day for planting – there are a lot of baby plants to put in.

What you need

Plants

Buy bedding strips of purple and blue petunias, yellow and orange Afro-French and French marigolds and variegated-leaf salvias – enough to cover the area you have in mind.

Here there are at least 30-40 yellow marigold plants and the same number of orange ones; 20 or so of each colour of petunia; and 20-25 salvias.

Equipment

Fork, spade, rake and trowel. General-purpose compost.
1 Bedding schemes like this do best in full sun, so choose your site carefully. The soil does not have to be particularly rich, but it still needs to be dug over thoroughly. Remove any weeds, roots or stones as you dig. Incorporate a general-purpose compost into the top 8-10cm (3-4in) of soil and rake smooth.

2 Start planting the deep orange marigolds at the wide end of the fan. Remove the baby plants from their bedding strip and lay them out in three rows, spacing them about 20cm (8in) apart. Use the trowel to dig small planting holes, setting in and firming each pant methodically in three arcs.

3 Moving forwards, plant the bright yellow marigolds in the same way, again in three curving rows. Follow up with the salvias.

4 Finish with the two bands of blue and purple petunias, using the same procedure as before to plant them. Water the whole bed thoroughly, using a fine rose on your watering can so you don’t dislodge the newly bedded plants.

Tip
To keep the plants producing flowers for as long a period as possible, feed with a high potash liquid fertiliser every couple of weeks.

Note
The salvias are not yet in flower in this bed. They will come into bloom later in the season.

Aftercare
Keep the bed well watered in dry weather. Deadhead faded and withered flowers as often as you can to encourage new ones to appear – and to keep the bedding scheme looking good. Clear the bed in autumn, dig over the ground again and replant the following year.

 


 

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Great-value gifts

In the current economic climate, almost everyone wants to buy great quality gifts at a very reasonable price; well it’s no different in the Dairy Diary office. In the next month we will commence research on the contents of our next giftpack, so we have been trying to create a shortlist of good products at a price we can afford. This year’s giftpack is already proving to be exceptionally popular, with its wooden bookstand – perfect for trying out recipes from the diary or cookbook, or simply for displaying your diary’s weekly events. But how can we improve on that within budget? Any ideas will be gratefully received!
It’s no different in my house either, although I still buy gifts for friends and relations, I have less to spend now and often supplement the bought gift with a home-made present. Although my friends may disagree, I hope it shows I am not too stingy but also take time to make something personal. I often use inexpensive glass beads (in their favourite colour of course), to make bracelets for female friends. For my son’s Birthday I am going to paint a large floor mat with fields, roads, rivers, a farm and a village – something perfect for all his beloved animal and transport toys.
Here’s a divine recipe for Luxury Florentines that I am going to try as a treat for my friends, wrapped in cellophane and ribbon they should look very pretty and taste fabulous too!
I’d love to know about any of your home-made gifts ideas and of course anything you have been wanting to see in the Dairy Diary giftpack.

In the current economic climate, almost everyone wants to buy great quality gifts at a very reasonable price.

Well it’s no different in the Dairy Diary office. In the next month we will commence research on the contents of our next giftpack, so we have been trying to create a shortlist of good products at a price we can afford.

This year’s Dairy Diary Giftpack is already proving to be exceptionally popular, with its wooden bookstand – perfect for trying out recipes from the diary or cookbook, or simply for displaying your diary’s weekly events. But how can we improve on that within budget?

Do you have a great idea for next year’s giftpack? Let me know by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” link at the end of this post.

It’s no different in my house either, although I still buy gifts for friends and relations, I have less to spend now and often supplement the bought gift with a home-made present. Although my friends may disagree, I hope it shows I am not too stingy but also take time to make something personal.

I often use inexpensive glass beads (in their favourite colour of course), to make bracelets for female friends. For my son’s Birthday I am going to paint a large floor mat with fields, roads, rivers, a farm and a village – something perfect for all his beloved animal and transport toys.

Take a look at this divine recipe for Luxury Florentines that I am going to try as a treat for my friends – wrapped in cellophane and ribbon they should look very pretty and taste fabulous too!

I’d love to know about any of your home-made gifts ideas, so click on the “Leave a Comment” link below.

Luxury Florentines

Luxury florentines
Devine delights. And they look so fabulous too!
Time 50 mins
110 calories per Florentine
6G fat of which 2.8G is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Makes 20
Unsalted butter 50g (2oz)
Single cream 90ml (3fl oz)
Soft dark brown sugar 75g (3oz)
Orange 1 small, finely grated zest and 1 tbsp juice
Plain flour 50g (2oz)
Flaked almonds 50g (2oz)
Mixed cut peel 50g (2oz)
Glacé cherries 50g (2oz), quartered
Glacé pineapple or crystallised
stem ginger 25–40g (1–11⁄2oz), chopped
Angelica 25–40g (1–11⁄2oz), chopped
Dark chocolate 100g packet, broken into pieces
1 Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line 3–4 baking trays with baking paper.
2 Put butter, cream, sugar, orange zest and juice into a large saucepan and stir over a moderate heat until melted and smooth.
3 Add flour, almonds, peel, cherries, pineapple and angelica to pan and mix well. Allow mixture to cool a little.
4 Put teaspoonfuls of mixture onto prepared trays, spacing well apart. Bake in batches for 10–12 minutes until spread out thinly and lightly browned.
5 Allow florentines to cool until cold on baking trays. When quite cold, melt chocolate (see page 93) and spread evenly over the smooth underside of each florentine. Allow chocolate to set and store in an airtight
container, interleaved with nonstick foil or baking paper.

Divine delights. And they look so fabulous too! Could you resist one?

Luxury Florentines from the Dairy Diary 2010

Luxury Florentines from the Dairy Diary 2010

Time 50 mins
110 calories per Florentine
6G fat of which 2.8G is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Makes 20

Unsalted butter 50g (2oz)
Single cream 90ml (3fl oz)
Soft dark brown sugar 75g (3oz)
Orange 1 small, finely grated zest and 1 tbsp juice
Plain flour 50g (2oz)
Flaked almonds 50g (2oz)
Mixed cut peel 50g (2oz)
Glacé cherries 50g (2oz), quartered
Glacé pineapple or crystallised stem ginger 25–40g (1–11⁄2oz), chopped
Angelica 25–40g (1–11⁄2oz), chopped
Dark chocolate 100g packet, broken into pieces

1 Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line 3–4 baking trays with baking paper.

2 Put butter, cream, sugar, orange zest and juice into a large saucepan and stir over a moderate heat until melted and smooth.

3 Add flour, almonds, peel, cherries, pineapple and angelica to pan and mix well. Allow mixture to cool a little.

4 Put teaspoonfuls of mixture onto prepared trays, spacing well apart. Bake in batches for 10–12 minutes until spread out thinly and lightly browned.

5 Allow florentines to cool until cold on baking trays. When quite cold, melt chocolate (see page 93) and spread evenly over the smooth underside of each florentine. Allow chocolate to set and store in an airtight container, interleaved with nonstick foil or baking paper.

A Dairy Diary 2010 recipe.

Anniversary gifts

Anniversary gifts
My close friends Katy and James celebrate their first wedding anniversary next week. I have already made a card but have not yet bought a gift. Of course I checked in my Dairy Diary to see what is traditionally given for a first anniversary gift – paper. Hmmm….what paper-based present will they appreciate?!! I have deliberated quite a lot and decided to opt for a magazine subscription. They both enjoy travel, so a travel magazine seems like a gift they could both enjoy. Let’s hope they like it!
I am just glad it’s not their seventh anniversary with iron as the traditional gift! What on earth would I buy for that? I would love to hear of any innovative gifts given for wedding or wedding anniversaries. It means so much more to the recipient if it has been thought about.
Maybe a special cake is a nice idea? Try this special Celebration Cake recipe.

My close friends Katy and James celebrate their first wedding anniversary next week. I have already made a card but have not yet bought a gift.

Of course I checked in my Dairy Diary to see what is traditionally given for a first anniversary gift – paper.

Hmmm….what paper-based present will they appreciate?!! I have deliberated quite a lot and decided to opt for a magazine subscription. They both enjoy travel, so a travel magazine seems like a gift they could both enjoy. Let’s hope they like it!

I am just glad it’s not their seventh anniversary with iron as the traditional gift! What on earth would I buy for that? I would love to hear of any innovative gifts given for wedding or wedding anniversaries. It means so much more to the recipient if it has been thought about.

Maybe a special cake is a nice idea? Try this special Celebration Cake recipe.

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