Day 23/24 – Chalkboard bunting
We’re putting the final touches to the living room for Christmas. One of my favourite buys this Christmas was chalkboard bunting. I’m sure with a bit of patience, you could make your own – this tutorial looks good and uses chalk cloth, which I never knew was a thing!
Mine is 5 metres long and purchased for £1.50 in R&J Supplies in St Ives, which is a goldmine of a place if you’re ever in the area (which, in my opinion is one of the nicest places you could possibly be!) You have enough triangles to write Joyeux Noel (not quite enough for Happy Christmas), but I didn’t have enough room to hang the ‘Joyeux’! The best thing is that the letters rub off so you can keep on reusing all year round.
Day 22/24 – Perfectly Imperfect Gifts
For last-minute gift shopping, it’s time to broaden your horizons. This mug was originally £8 (although you can’t quite see the sticker on top that says so, only the one where it was then reduced from £6 to £1.75). Take it out of the tatty box et voila, a perfect mug!
Wrap it up nicely and it makes a beautiful gift and nobody will ever know! I find the best places for bargains are outlet stores – our favourite is Swindon, where this Paperchase mug was found amongst many other Christmas presents this year!
Day 20/24 – Wine Bottle Candles
Today I’m making the season merry and bright with candles. I’m starting out these wine bottle candles in the hope of getting to here by next year. The thriftiest place I’ve seen to buy candles is IKEA or Flying Tiger, where these bad boys are 2 for £1 and come in all sorts of exciting colours (the question is whether to venture in to coloured wax?)
PS Les Dauphins (red) wine – which definitely wins the prize for prettiest labels – is currently on offer at Ocado. Or for something more fun and thrifty, try Iron Horse from Aldi (which makes Decanter’s wine recommendations here).
Day 19/24 – Bargain succulents at Tesco
These little beauties are reduced to £1.47 each at Tesco, including the cute festive pots, which can be artfully turned around to match the decor in your new bathroom, as below:
Or even better, you can replace the pots with the beauties your friend got you for your Birthday and re-purpose the Christmassy pots to even more festive purposes, like a casual clementine display:
I’m hoping to find enough time to make the grandparents some Christmas biscuits to be gifted in the china pots… watch this space!
Day 18/24 – Selfie Christmas crackers
The best fun you can have for £4.99 (for a box of 6), need I say more? And a great ice breaker for when your parents meet the in-laws!
Day 14/24 – Sloe gin
Give the gift of sloe gin! It ideally needs two months to mature, so if you haven’t made a start already, it might need an ‘enjoy me after’ date attached. I use this recipe from Jamie Oliver and buy Kilner jars in bulk from the local Original Factory Shop (they usually have an offer around October when the sloes are out in force).
Day 12/24 – Cinnamon Stick Tree Decorations
I bought these cinnamon sticks few months ago for a dinner party recipe (what was I thinking? Simple is always best!) and the rest of the packet has sat dormant in the cupboard ever since. What better way to use them up than to bring a Christmas scent to our home? Cue wrapping in bundles with festive twine and adorning the Christmas tree.
If you are feeling the need for festive aromas, you can buy packs of cinnamon sticks for 99p each at Tesco.
Day 11/24 – felt Christmas cards
I think this is my favourite Christmas card of this whole advent blog post series (see here, here and here for the rest). I can claim very little of the making credit for this, having purchased the reindeer a long time ago from Hobbycraft (although similar ones are on sale now here) and just adding a stamp below, but I love the end result!
Day 9/24 -Chocolate truffles
I always think home-made gifts are the nicest, where time allows. As a chocolate-lover, one of the best presents I can give or receive is home made truffles.
If you’re feeling flush, they’re best with proper minimum 70% cocoa but if not, a 30p 100g bar of dark chocolate from any of the supermarkets will do just fine!
200g dark chocolate
100ml double cream
- Gently heat 100ml double cream in a non-stick saucepan
- Add the chocolate broken in to pieces and stir until melted
- Allow to cool completely (it may need to go in the fridge, depending on the room temperature)
- Scoop into balls – you can use a melon baller for this, but I find it easier to scoop a ball out with a teaspoon and roll with my hands
- Chill in the fridge overnight
- Serve in tiny cake cases and pretty boxes as Christmas gifts