Tag Archives: Summer

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


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!






5 summery drinks to make for friends

5 summery drinks for friends

5 Summery Drinks to Make for Friends

It’s great to have friends or family come to visit but the effort to prepare food can make impromptu invitations off-putting.

And when it’s a lovely day none of us want to be slaving in the kitchen cooking.

So why not host a drinks
and nibbles afternoon?

Whip up a few of the fabulous drinks below and serve with a variety of crisps, nuts, olives etc. With a variety of drinks – including plenty of non-alcoholic – it’s perfect for a gathering of people of all ages.

Make all the drinks in advance and store in the fridge so that you can enjoy the afternoon with your visitors.



Minty Lemon Sorbet Tea

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 59 per portion
Fat 0.2g (0g sat) per portion


  • Darjeeling tea 600ml (1 pint), hot and strong
  • Sprigs of mint 3
  • Golden granulated sugar to taste Lemon sorbet 4 scoops
  • Lemon 1, sliced
  • Strawberries and mint sprigs to decorate


  1. Pour the hot tea into a jug, add the mint sprigs and stir in the sugar to taste. Leave to brew and cool completely.
  2. When ready to serve, remove the mint sprigs. Scoop the lemon sorbet into four tall glasses and pour in the tea.
  3. Decorate with strawberries and mint and serve immediately.

Refreshing Lemonade

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 134 per portion
Fat 0g (0g sat) per portion


  • Caster sugar 200g (7oz)
  • Lemons 8 large, finely grated zest and juice (giving about 200ml/7fl oz)
  • Ice to serve


  1. Tip sugar, lemon zest and juice into a heavy-based pan with 1 litre (1¾ pints) water
    and heat gently until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Taste and adjust sugar and lemon juice to taste. Remove pan from the heat and leave to cool. Strain liquid (if wished) into a jug filled with ice.

Caribbean Shake

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 199 per portion
Fat 7g (4.2g sat) per portion


  • Banana 1, roughly chopped
  • Orange juice 2 tbsp
  • Pineapple juice 2 tbsp
  • Milk 300ml (½ pint)
  • Vanilla dairy ice cream 2 scoops


  1. Put banana in a blender with orange and pineapple juices. Add milk and whizz to blend.
  2. Put a scoop of ice cream in two glasses and top up with fruit milk. Serve immediately and with straws, if you like.

Summer Berry Milkshakes

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 461 per portion
Fat 35g (20.4g sat) per portion


  • Fresh raspberries 110g (4oz)
  • Fresh strawberries 150g (5oz), hulled and sliced
  • Vanilla ice cream 2–3 good scoops
  • Whole milk 600ml (1 pint), chilled
  • Natural yogurt 150g (5oz)
  • Double cream 125ml (4 fl oz), whipped to a soft peak, to decorate, optional
  • Raspberries 12, to decorate, optional Strawberries 4, to decorate, optional


  1. Put raspberries, strawberries, ice cream, milk and yogurt into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour milkshake through a non-reactive sieve into a large jug (to remove seeds), and then pour into four large, well-chilled glasses. Serve immediately.

TIP For some extra pizzazz, top each glass of milkshake with a spoonful of whipped cream topped with raspberries. Make a slit in each strawberry, place on rim of each glass and serve.

Iced Coffee

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 334 per portion
Fat 17.1g (11.2g sat) per portion


  • Instant coffee 1 tbsp
  • Caster sugar 1 tbsp
  • Boiling water 3 tbsp
  • Whole milk 250ml (9fl oz)
  • Vanilla ice cream 250g (9oz)
  • Grated chocolate a little for sprinkling, optional


  1. Put coffee and sugar into a heatproof jug, stir in boiling water, cover and leave to cool for 5–10 minutes.
  2. Mix coffee with milk and chill well.
  3. When ready to serve, pour coffee into a liquidiser, add ice cream and blend well. Pour into tall glasses, sprinkle with chocolate, if using, and serve immediately.







10 things we should all do this summer plus win a £50 Garden Centre Voucher

10 things to do this summer

10 things we should all do this summer

As last Monday heralded the official start of summer here are a few suggestions to make the most of the season

 1 Go to the seaside.

As we’re a small island nation most of us can drive to the sea in less than 2 hours. In fact the village considered furthest away from the coast in Britain is Coton in the Elms, Derbyshire; a mere 70 miles from the sea.

There’s something magical about the seaside. Everything smells good (even those fried doughnuts!), the sound of the waves and seagulls lull you into a relaxed state and for me, it always reminds me of childhood day trips and holidays. So breathe deep and enjoy the sea air!

2 Write exercise in your Dairy Diary.

With a hectic life, it’s not always easy to fit in exercise but I have found a very nifty trick to sticking to my new found ability to run (it only took me 40 years!!) – write it in the diary. If it’s there on paper, slotted into an available gap you’re far more likely to stick to it. You can even tick it off when you’ve done it and feel really virtuous!

3 Make a holiday photo collage.

How many holiday photos do you have stashed away on the computer or in old dusty albums in a drawer somewhere? Enjoy them instead! Choose one really lovely image from each holiday and make a collage – either with prints or make one with digital photos online and get it printed via a photo website. Frame your creation and put it somewhere you can see it every day and remember all those cherished moments.

4 Treat yourself to a pedicure and show off your toes.

Summer means sandal time, so book yourself in for a proper pedicure – I love Shellac or Minx because they last and you can enjoy gorgeous shiny or sparkly toe nails all summer long.

5 Go on a picnic.

Make this an impromptu affair with a blanket, a few of your favourite foods (homemade or bought from your local deli), and your favourite view. Bliss.

6 Explore local footpaths.

When going walking we often head off in the car to some ‘route’ I’ve found in a walking book. This summer, instead I plan to explore our locality and discover where all those public footpaths lead to that we have never walked. I just hope we don’t get too lost!

7 Wear your favourite dress on an ordinary day.

We so often save gorgeous clothes for ‘best’. But how often do we actually get to wear them? Tomorrow, wear that beautiful dress and enjoy it rather than saving it for a special occasion that may never arise.

8 Spend the evening in the garden.

Whizz up a dip and take it into the garden with a bag of crisps or crudité and a chilled bottle of rosé or elderflower fizz. You’ll probably need a blanket or warm cardigan but enjoy the long summer evenings and having some tv-free time.

9 Plant lavender.

The fragrance of lavender is so relaxing it’s perfect for the garden. Plant one or two bushes near to where you sit or come in and out of the house and enjoy the scent all summer. Don’t forget to enter this month’s prize draw to win a £50 garden voucher and you could buy a whole gardenful of lavender! <link>

10 Make a different salad for lunch every day this week.

One of the best ways to ensure we are getting all the right nutrients is to eat a ‘rainbow’ of colours. Each day this week enjoy a different salad for lunch – see how inventive you can be with different veg, salad, fruit, nuts, seeds, cheeses, fish, meat and dressings. The possibilities are endless. Why not try this one today:


Tuna and Avocado Salad


Tuna, Avocado & Fennel Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 296 per portion
Fat 20g (3.7g sat) per portion


  • Tuna in water 200g can, drained
  • Light mayonnaise 3-4 tbsp
  • Lime 1, juice only
  • Avocado 1, peeled, stoned and diced
  • Fennel bulb ½ small, very thinly sliced
  • Salad leaves 60g packet


  1. Mix together tuna, mayonnaise and lime juice.
  2. Add avocado, season to taste and gently stir together.
  3. Divide salad leaves between two plates. Spoon tuna mix on top.

#summer #win #competition #salad


Win a £50 Garden Centre Voucher

Win a £50 Garden Centre Voucher

Dairy Diary is giving you the chance to win a £50 voucher to spend on whatever you fancy in over 200 garden centres and nurseries throughout the UK.

To enter simply answer the following question:

How many easy half-day projects are there in Seasonal Garden Ideas? (Hint: the answer can be found on the Seasonal Garden Ideas page)


Seasonal Garden IdeasSeasonal Garden Ideas is a beautiful book featuring easy half-day projects, with easy-to-follow instructions, to add beauty to any garden.

There is lots to do through all four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Now available for just £3.99!


Recipe of the Week | Cherry & Pistachio Chocolate Squares

Cherry & Pistachio Chocolate Squares

An easy, no-bake recipe that’s perfect to make with children.

It may be naughty,
but it’s very VERY nice!

Cherry & Pistachio Chocolate Squares

  • Servings: 20 squares
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Calories 211 per portion
Fat 13g (6.6g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Butter 125g (4½oz), diced
  • Dark chocolate 300g (11oz), broken into squares
  • Golden syrup 3 tbsp
  • Glacé cherries 100g (3½oz), halved
  • Pistachio nuts 50g (2oz), chopped
  • Sultanas 50g (2oz)
  • Digestive biscuits 200g pack, broken into pieces


  1. Line a 20cm (8in) square tin with clingfilm.
  2. Put the butter, chocolate and golden syrup into a large microwave-proof bowl. Microwave on medium power for 1-2 minutes until the chocolate has melted, stirring after every 20 seconds and checking the chocolate does not overheat.
  3. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Spoon into the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Leave to cool.
  4. Chill for at least an hour (or until set) and then remove from the tin, peel off the cling film and cut into 20 squares.

Cook’s tips
Take care when melting the chocolate – if it is cooked for too long it will seize.
These squares will keep for a week wrapped in foil in the fridge or freeze for 3 months.
Use any dried fruits you have in the cupboard.


Fantastic Food For Less cookbookThese recipes are taken from
our gorgeous cookbook,
Fantastic Food for Less,
which is HALF PRICE this month.

Get in quick before they sell out!


You won’t regret it – the recipes are outstanding.


Seasonal Garden Ideas to add beauty to your garden

The big news this week is the launch of Seasonal Garden Ideas: a new gardening book that will inspire both novice and experienced gardeners this spring.

Seasonal Garden IdeasSeasonal Garden Ideas is a beautiful book featuring easy half-day projects to add beauty to any garden throughout the year.

Each of the 77 projects is presented like a RECIPE; with ingredients, step-by-step instructions, hints and tips, time required, when to start and aftercare. Now doesn’t that sound simple?

When you turn to a project you will be delighted with how the information is clearly laid out to make the task so straightforward. Each project is illustrated with a beautiful colour photograph.

Excellent value at just £9.75.
Order it from your milkman or online while stocks last.

Celebrate St David’s day with a fantastic Welsh lamb dish

I love Welsh lamb and this Minty Lamb Pattie is the perfect excuse to support Welsh farmers and enjoy one of the best ‘burgers’ you’ll ever taste. Sounds naughty, but this is a nicely balanced meal. Try it and I think you’ll add it to your ‘favourites’.

Save £4 when you buy Around Britain Dairy Cookbook

Minty Lamb Pattie is taken from the popular Around Britain Dairy Cookbook which is available for a short period at the incredible price of just £2.99 while stocks last.

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