Since being on maternity leave I’ve been getting back into cooking, baking and making homemade bits and bobs. I’ve really enjoyed unearthing my creative side as I feel it has been buried for a while.

Anyone on maternity leave knows the struggles of maternity pay. Something is better than nothing but I need to be resourceful, frugal and creative which I’ve had plenty of practice at the first time around being a lone parent with my daughter. Budgets and bargains were and are life.

With Christmas upon us I knew I would have to get creative with presents so have opted for a homemade Christmas this year something I have done in the past and something I think may become a family tradition. When the Bubba is bigger I can see us creating all sorts together and coming up with different ideas each year on what to make everyone.

This year I used bits from around the house to wrap presents. I must confess I am one of those people who when she receives a gift will unwrap it with the utmost care if the wrapping is beautiful so I can reuse it later either for crafts or as wrapping. I have a haul of gift bags and tissue paper and a craft box full of card, pretty paper pads, washi tape and ribbon amongst other stuff. I had an idea to do a natural rustic style wrapping after seeing some packing paper in a drawer. I had some tags I made from card and patterned paper left over from last year, used ribbon, an orange and Rosemary to decorate the plain packaging which came out rather pretty. To dry out the oranges I cut them thinly put them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and left in the oven for a couple of hours on the lowest heat then left them in there until the oven was cold they came out really well. I used Rosemary as it looks a bit like a mini Christmas tree. I tied it all together with string and hid the string under the orange.

For other gifts I have made hampers full of things I know my mother and sister would like and reused a box and a hamper some of the baby’s clothes came in, some tissue paper, tags and made an origami star to make it pretty. My mum was impressed when she saw them.

Christmas pudding is a Christmas dessert everyone seems to like except for me so I’ve been looking for alternatives and have had a couple of goes at making steamed orange pudding. The first time wasn’t great but the second time it came out really well. Thanks to this brilliant steamed pudding set from Aldi my puddings should come out perfect every time as long as I pay attention the how much water is in the pot. It tasted so good. The homemade custard didn’t go to plan but will try again and hopefully have a smooth lump free custard with practice. I have a few other festive bits I want to try and make and give away as yummy gifts.

I need to put that resourcefulness to good use on my dinner menus to keep the cost of shopping down as much as possible.

Last night I found myself watching videos on how to make a dinning table as there is a gorgeous but pricey table and bench I would love from Next but feel that I could definitely make it myself I just need access to some tools as I do not have any power tools like a circular saw, maitre saw and router. It’s so clear in my mind what needs to be done. Watch this space next year to see if I do turn the pallet in the garden into a beautiful family dinning table.

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