Tag Archives: school holidays

School Holiday Bake: Galaxy Star Biscuits

Galaxy Star Biscuits

After months of home-schooling, I think many of us are well and truly running out of ideas for keeping children entertained


This fab recipe will help to pass the time productively.

It is great for all children, young and old (and adults too of course), as it’s simple and fun, but gives impressive results.

Aprons recommended!


Galaxy Star Biscuits 








3 arty ideas for the school holidays

Rainy days are an inevitable part of the school holidays and finding new ideas for things to do can tricky.

Give one or two of these little arty ideas a try, creative children will love them!


Go dotty!

Go dotty over wildflowers

Inspired by a gorgeous wildflower meadow we saw on a recent trip to the Peak District, we loved creating these dotty pictures so much that we made lots, mounted them and made them into thank you cards.

  • Good quality paper
  • Pencil
  • Felt tip pens
  • Coloured card (optional)

1 In pencil, sketch a couple of lines across the paper to represent a field and hillside.

2 Using paler colours first fill in the ‘fields’ with lots of coloured dots to represent wild flowers and grasses.

3 Add a tree trunk and dotty leaves.

4 Mount onto coloured card, if you like.


Beady Napkins

Beady napkin rings

Making your own café can be great fun. Make (or bake) your favourite lunch, lay the table and add your homemade napkin ring to a paper napkin.

  • Craft wire or fine elastic
  • Selection of beads and charms
  • Paper napkins

1 Thread beads (and a charm or two if you like) onto craft wire or elastic.

2 Tie a knot in the elastic or twist the craft wire together.

3 Place on a napkin.


 Chocolate Lolipos

In your café you could offer one or two of these chocolate lollipops – they’re great fun to make.

Sheepish Chocolate Lolipops

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 231 per portion
Fat 12g (7.4g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians


  • White chocolate 200g bar, chopped
  • Lollipop sticks 8
  • Giant chocolate buttons 10-11
  • White mini marshmallows 50g (2oz)
  • Black and pink gel food colour to decorate


  1. 1 Using the base of a mug, draw eight circles on a sheet of baking paper. Turn over paper and weight each corner.
  2. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.
  3. Spoon chocolate onto drawn circles. Place a lollipop stick onto each, turning once to coat. Place a button onto each circle near stick and snip remaining buttons into ear shapes and place one on each side of each button. Snip marshmallows in half with scissors and gently push into chocolate in concentric circles. Use gel to create eyes and mouth. Leave to set.


Have fun!




Top Ten Children’s Books Plus a Fab Recipe Perfect for Making with Little Ones

Top Ten Children’s Books

Top Ten Children’s Books

It was Children’s Book Day on Saturday so we took some time out from rushing around to sit on the carpet and talk about stories. I asked my three children – whose ages range from 5 to 8 – to choose their favourites. Here’s the Davenport Top Ten:

The Blue Balloon Mick Inkpen
It’s a silly and simple story – like many of Mick Inkpen’s books – but it resonated with each of our children when they were little. They love the fold out pages and the sense of fun that the author so cleverly creates.

Cockatoos Quentin Blake
Ever since I was a small child engrossed in Roald Dahl books I have loved Quentin Blake. Author and Illustrator of this book, he has filled it with his cheeky wit. And it’s great for putting on an absurd posh voice!

Magic Faraway Tree Enid Blyton
As I read my original 1970s copy to my children I have to change a few words here and there – PC it isn’t (e.g. the girls always have to help in the kitchen but the boys don’t). But the magic in this book is unrivalled in anything else I have come across for young children and all my children love it as much as I did.

The BFG Roald Dahl
Both Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant are such wonderful characters you can’t help but love this book. Roald Dahl was a genius of storytelling and I think this one is his best. Though apparently the Queen has the same voice as a witch from another story (sorry about that!)

Mr Stink David Walliams
David Walliams has a fantastic ability to write modern day stories with old fashioned fun and adventure. In each of his books the morals are always spot on and his characters are hilarious. My son and I love Raj who appears in every book he writes.

Goodnight Mister Tom Michelle Magorian
Heartbreaking and heartwarming, this was my favourite book when I was young. It’s a moving and compelling tale, which reveals the complexities and terrible consequences of war through a child’s eyes.

The Harry Potter series J. K. Rowling
Ok, I have to confess that this one is my choice. My children are just too wussy to read Harry Potter yet as they get scared after about page 3. J. K. Rowling’s series of epic adventures are just unquestionably brilliant. I’m going to get the audio books for the car and hope that Stephen Fry’s dulcet tones will persuade my children to listen.

Mog and the V.E.T Judith Kerr
Having owned a very grumpy cat (who once ended up on the vet’s head!) this story particularly resonates with us. Mog’s escapades always make us all giggle.

Why the Whales Came Michael Morpurgo
Erie and disquieting, this multifaceted tale of two children who befriend a loner on their island is a real page turner. It was our first Michael Morpurgo book and we loved it.

The Smartest Giant in Town Julie Donaldson
There’s something about the rhythm of rhyme that intrigues children. Even when my little ones are distracted Julia Donaldson’s soothing stories encourage them to listen. In this book, there are so many funny characters it gives us parents a great opportunity for a cavalcade of silly voices!

And after all that reading,
surely it’s time for a treat?  
These cookies are easy and
fun to make with your little
(or not so little) ones.

Take A Box Of Eggs cookbook

Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: 20
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 225 per portion
Fat 12.2g (7.3g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Butter 200g (7oz), softened
  • Soft light brown sugar 150g (5oz)
  • Eggs 2, beaten
  • Self-raising flour 300g (11oz)
  • White chocolate 200g (7oz), chopped
  • Dried cranberries 75g packet


  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas 5 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Beat the butter with the sugar in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and flour and mix well. Work the chopped chocolate and cranberries into the mixture.
  2. Drop generous dessertspoonfuls of the mix onto the prepared baking sheet and cook in batches for 10–15 minutes until the cookies are golden, but still soft. Leave to cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Cook’s tip
This is one of those wonderful recipes that is great to get children interested in baking as it doesn’t involve the use of an electric mixer – just keep an eye on where the white chocolate ends up!


Take a Box of EggsTake A Box Of Eggs

Discover the delight of cooking with eggs; nature’s own convenience food. This recipe is taken from Take a Box of Eggs, which features 100 easy, irresistible recipes in an attractive yet straightforward style.

Buy now for just £7.49.








Jar of Fun

50 easy ideas to banish boredom during the school holidays

50 easy ideas to banish boredom during the school holidays


The school holidays are in full swing and the battle to prise my son away from his tablet has commenced.

I do believe that in 2016 technology has its place – it’s important for children to learn how to use it as it’s so integral to work and life. However, it does need to be limited!

After an hour on his tablet my son’s imagination
seems to evaporate and the inevitable ‘I don’t
know what to do’ will follow.

This is where the Jar of Fun comes into play.

The idea of the Jar of Fun is not to limit their imagination – if they’re happily ensconced in a game that’s great. It’s for those moments when they’re ‘bored’ or ‘don’t know what to do’. Let one child choose a paper from the jar and then encourage the whole family to join in.


To Prepare

One evening, sit in front of the television (don’t watch Brian Cox while doing this activity, it needs something that requires little concentration!) with a jar, some paper, scissors and a pen (or laptop and printer).

Snip the paper into 50 pieces and on each of them write an activity (or you can copy and print this list if you like). Note: you DO need to be prepared to actually do these if they’re picked from the jar, so don’t write anything too ambitious. Fold the paper and place in the jar.


Here’s my list – obviously you can tweak these to suit your family/lifestyle.

  • Act out your favourite story
  • Bake biscuits/cakes
  • Blow bubbles
  • Build a Lego town
  • Build/draw a train track
  • Build our house out of recycled objects
  • Chalk a beautiful mural on the driveway
  • Choose a new book from the library
  • Collect nature materials and make a collage
  • Construct an obstacle course
  • Copy a famous painting
  • Count pocket money and take a trip to a charity or sweet shop
  • Create a cafe at home with table settings and make lunch
  • Create a toy car race track
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle
  • Draw/paint a self-portrait and create a family collage
  • Dress up in funny outfits and take photos
  • Explore Google Earth
  • Face paints
  • Fill in an activity/sticker book
  • Find a game and teach someone else how to play
  • Go for a wildlife spotting walk
  • Go geocaching
  • Go on a bike ride
  • Have a disco
  • Hold a teddy bear’s picnic
  • Learn a magic trick
  • Look through family photographs
  • Make a book using your own photos/drawings
  • Make a den
  • Make a film
  • Make animals from Playdough
  • Make bead bracelets
  • Make paper aeroplanes
  • Make sock puppets
  • Paint animals/patterns on stones
  • Plan a treasure hunt
  • Plant bulbs/seeds
  • Play ball
  • Play dominoes
  • Read a book and then create a collage or model of your favourite part
  • Sort through the toy baskets and take a trip to the charity shop
  • Take your dolls/teddies out for a walk
  • Visit a friend
  • Visit a museum
  • Walk to the park
  • Wash the car
  • Watch a film
  • Write a letter to a friend
  • Write a recipe (then make it)

Have fun everyone!


AND as a special Easter treat we have a very lovely competition for you.

Win a Crock-Pot

Here’s your chance to win a fantastic Crock-Pot Thyme Slow Cooker as used (and loved) by our very own managing editor.










Family fun for the school holidays

Family fun for the school holidays

It’s National Family Week this week, which is very apt given that it’s the summer holidays and many of us will spend lots of time with our children.

As a mum of three under-fives, I now know what a rollercoaster ride it is being a parent! BC (before children), I imagined life to be a whirlwind of harmonious activities; from playing games to spotting wildlife to making crafts.

Yes, of course, you can do these things, but in reality you may have one child who just wants to play with his cars and another who wants to eat the paint!

So, here I have suggested some ideas for the summer holidays that you and your children MAY want to try. But if they don’t want to, stay chilled (if possible!) and enjoy watching them do their chosen activity instead (even if they have been pushing trains around a track for the past 4 weeks!)

Under 5s

  • Create a very simple treasure hunt at home with one word cards to follow, such as table, chair and toybox.
  • Food packets and tubes can be used for plenty of activities: your child can sort them into different shapes and sizes; the tubes and packaging can be used as building bricks, and painted in different colours.
  • Make a themed collage (by colour, season or transport, for example) with pictures cut from magazines. If the children are very young, cut the pictures out yourself and allow them to stick.
  • Make pasta necklaces by painting individual pasta shapes, such as penne. Allow to dry, thread on to string and tie.
  • Imprint rubbing can be intriguing for little ones. Place a piece of paper over a patterned object, such as a coin, leaf or shell, and then rub over the top with a crayon. Cut a potato in half and carve a simple pattern into the flesh. Make several of these for your child to cover in paint and print the shapes on a piece of paper.
  • Paint can be used in all sorts of ways. Cut a butterfly shape from a piece of paper. Ask your child to paint a pattern on one side then fold in half while still wet to see the pattern mirrored.
  • With paint, you can also create butterflies from two children’s hand prints with a blob of paint in the middle. Sponge painting is also great fun, or try drawing patterns with wax crayon and painting over the top.
  • Use the playdough recipe (below) to create models, make patterns and cut into shapes. Baking equipment is ideal for use with playdough.
  • Encourage an interest in food at an early age by making chocolate and rice crispy cakes together, or simple flapjacks with butter, oats and syrup.
  • Play some lively music and dance with your child. Get him/ her to mirror your movements, count or clap to the beat, or waltz with your child standing on your feet.
  • Let’s pretend – choose an animal and make the relevant noises and movements. Choose contrasting animals, such as a tiny mouse and huge elephant.
  • Ask your child to clap out the rhythm of his/her name and clap along, or clap to the beat of a song. Make a simple shaker by sealing dried rice or pasta in a tub to shake along to the music.
  • At the start of the day choose one letter from the alphabet and see how many things beginning with that letter your child can spot throughout the day. Paint a picture or create a picture collage of some of those things at the end of the day.
  • Go for a short walk and collect natural objects, such as pinecones, pebbles and feathers. With glue, paint and paper, make little creatures from your finds. You could also try a ‘colour walk’ and ask your child to point out all the yellow items he or she sees, for example.

5-12 year olds

  • Family fun for the school holidaysMake a calendar or clock. For a clock, decorate a paper plate then paint on numbers and secure cardboard hands with a paper fastener. To create a calendar, choose month-appropriate pictures from a magazine and stick them on to 12 sheets of card or paper. Print out dates from the computer or write them down. Hole-punch each sheet and secure together with string. Both these craft projects will encourage your child to learn about time, days and months.
  • Use food packets to play shop. Your child can use scales to weigh items, stickers for pricing and change to learn about money and counting. Or your child could make a money box, and learn how to save. Create a model village by painting windows, doors and flowers onto packets.
  • To make an impressive mosaic picture, draw a large, simple design (such as flowers) on a piece of paper, cut small squares from coloured paper or magazines and use one colour to fill each section of the design.
  • Fingerprint characters are fun. Simply make lots of fingerprint marks with paint on a sheet of paper and allow to dry. Then make faces, monsters, animals and bugs by adding features/hair/legs/arms/tails with a black pen.
  • Create finger puppets – ask your child to draw animal or people characters on a piece of paper. Cut them out and glue a loop of paper to the back.
  • For paper weaving, cut long thin strips from coloured paper or magazines. Then take a larger piece of paper and cut strips almost but not quite to the top so it’s fringed. Weave each complete paper strip horizontally under and over the fringed strips. Trim the sides and secure at the back with tape.
  • Encourage your child to get involved in all (safe) food preparation to foster his/her interest in food. Choose a simple recipe (try Hot chocella on p155 or Yogurt cake on p141) and follow it together.
  • Throw a dice and draw a funny animal. Each number represents a body part (write these down first), take it in turns to throw and draw part of the beast. See what bizarre creatures you can create together.
  • Using either your clothes or jumble-sale finds, play dressing up and role play. You could pretend to be pop stars, play their music and sing with a hairbrush ‘microphone’ while dressed up. Face paints or make-up are good for this activity, too.
  • Hold a treasure hunt throughout the house and garden. Make around ten simple clues, such as ‘Your next clue is very cold’ (the clue’s hidden in the fridge) and hide them in appropriate places. The treasure can be a small toy or a home-made cake. The fun is in the hunt, not the prize. You could also encourage your child to write clues for you to hunt.
  • Make a family photo album. When you go out, take photos of teddy, or a favourite soft toy, in various places. Then put the photos in an album with other family members for your child to keep. You could also create a family tree together.
  • Children often get bored while out walking. Make a countryside stroll more fun with a ‘spotter’s list’. Write a list of plants, birds and creatures with tick boxes and a small reward. For example, blackbird 2p, kingfisher 50p. Your child will then have something for his/her moneybox at the end of the walk.
  • Poetic artwork – go for a walk and jot down things you do, see, smell, touch and hear. For example, bees buzzing, the scent of lavender, warm sunshine, green grass, a thrush singing, steep hill. When you get home, encourage your child to write them all down in different coloured pens/crayons on a piece of paper.


How to make play doughHow to make Playdough

Plain flour 1 cup
Water 1 cup
Vegetable oil 1tbsp
Cream of tartar 2tsp
Salt ½ cup
Food colouring a few drops

1 Place all ingredients in a pan on a low heat.

2 Stir continuously until mixture thickens to a firm dough texture.

3 Store in an airtight container and keep away from pets.



Banana and Cinnamon muffins recipeBanana & Cinnamon Muffins

Any why not bake these delicious
muffins with your little cooks too?

This recipe can be found in our
fabulous new cookbook
Take a Box of Eggs.


Entertaining the kids in the summer holidays

So, the summer holidays are upon us again.

For people with no children this means everywhere is much more annoyingly busier. For us with children, we have to find lots of things to do to keep those immortal words ‘I’m bored’ at bay.

Working from home I can afford to take not quite so much work on over the next six weeks, so my children will be visiting holiday clubs just two days every week. Leaving me with another five to fill.

A holiday planner is already up on the wall with all the big booked-in events written in: the week at their Nan’s caravan in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, the morning going to look after and ride a pony, the cinema trip, the visit to The Deep aquarium and the play centre visit with cousin Emma.

However, there are still a lot of days when I need to think of something to enable us to turn the television off for a few hours: that’s the curse of having too many children’s channels!

Hidden away upstairs I have a few craft kits from the very child friendly Buttonbag company.
If I can keep my patience perhaps we can make knight peg people and put on a show one day? Perhaps we can sew a little felt mouse each without too many pricked fingers? Perhaps I can bear the mess of making my own papier mache again and make some balloon masks?

And most definitely we should get out some of their old-fashioned board games to play.

Just this weekend we were housebound due to the rain so the ‘Junior Monopoly’ came out. And do you know what? It was really great. Better than playing on the Wii. It had been so long since we’d last played it that I was surprised to find my six year old Finley could read the instructions himself, and my four year old daughter Elena could recognise the numbers on the money. Fun and educational!


Seeded Tomato Scones | A Dairy Diary recipeThen, of course, there is always some baking that can be done.
Two chairs squeezed in side by side into my tiny kitchen as we all take turns to weigh and mix. The great thing about the recipes in the Dairy Diary is that they aren’t too long or complicated, so with my young helpers to hand I may well give the Tomato Scones from the 2011 Dairy Diary, page 87 a go.

There’s nothing they like more than getting messy hands and being able to use a rolling pin. And of course the results are bound to beat ‘boring’ old sandwiches.

Good luck.

Karen Perry
Dairy Diary Team


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