How to have a calm weekend – trip to Dalton’s Dairy

As someone who loves structure and a routine, lockdown can still be a real challenge in knowing what to do with the day ahead. My perceived sense of calm can often come from knowing what is going to happen next and before this time, I would often know what was going to be happening at the weekend in a rough form on Monday morning and definitively by Tuesday lunchtime.

Obviously that all had to change with the crisis and I could often feel quite overwhelmed with the idea of big chunks of time with ‘nothing’ to do and nowhere to go. Although I’ve been working on being more mindful and staying in the present moment, my learning curve has been accelerated around this in the past few months.

I think I am definitely starting to find more peace in free open spaces of time especially at the weekends and putting spontaneity and free flow more at the heart of my family time actually has brought about much love and much fun, somewhat unexpectedly, which has made it all the more enjoyable. I’m starting to accept a less structured, much more blended and open minded approach and simply by accepting it and embracing it, this has brought me a greater sense of calm and balance.

I still have bad days and good days with this and so last weekend, with restrictions easing and a lovely family bubble dinner planned, I also had in mind an impromptu trip out to the beautiful Dalton’s dairy.

I didn’t know what to expect but the setting looked appealing on Instagram, it was open all day between 8am and 9pm which gave plenty of time slot options and no need to rush to get there before it closed, as well as the complete win for all of us: ice cream.

On the day itself, sitting in the garden and going for a familiar walk was tempting but so was the delicious thought of actually going out and having a change of scene for once.

Situated in Wooton, Ashbourne in Derbyshire, the family raised an eyebrow as we drove into a quiet village – another of my wild ideas to go out and do something ‘fun’ which sometimes work out fabulously and sometimes really don’t – although I’m always forgiven and it’s taken in good spirits when we travel somewhere and end up in a empty rundown car park with a random trailer and a sold out hot dog stand that had sold itself as a summer solstice festival or similar.

We found the dairy on the edge of the village near the cricket ground set in beautiful countryside with a view of the dairy cows up on the hill.

There was a small car park and a group of picnic tables – not overcrowded or busy with a lovely relaxed atmosphere. People arrived, enjoyed their picnic and left on a continuous cycle but there were no queues or stress – everyone just went with the flow.

We had a short wait to enter the gorgeous little honesty shop given the social distancing and when we went inside it was lovely to read the welcoming handwritten notices and see how beautifully everything was presented.

A small but perfectly formed array of delicious produce – Dalton’s dairy milk in the most gorgeous bottles, free range eggs, cheese, butter, jam and honey. Lovely, lovely stuff and at really reasonable prices.

And all of this without even getting to the ice cream. We all agreed it was one of the best ice creams we’ve ever had especially given this was one of our first treats outside of our immediate area for what has felt like a very long time. Flavours include Cheeky Chocolate, Heavenly Honeycomb, White Mint and Chocolate Crisp and Wild Strawberries and Cream and it was £2 for a tub for one.

A lovely touch was the ethos of the honesty shop – you just put your money in the box or you can pay by contactless card. I know honesty shops exist but it just felt lovely for it all to be so simple and easy and to be trusted to pay the right money.

I went for Wild Strawberries and Cream and we sat and enjoyed. Definitely a moment of calm and family weekend bliss. We left happy and content and although no firm plans for the next trip, I know that it will definitely be somewhere I will decide spontaneously (see I’m learning!) to visit again very very soon 🙂