Homemade birthday treats: Proving it’s the thought that counts

For a recent birthday in my family I was faced with a pressing issue of ways to get a nice and thoughtful gift that cost little. Deciding to combine my love of baking with a new found craft of card making, I ended up with a present that was tasty, looked good and was wrapped in my personal touches and filled with effort.

While most people visit the high street for upcoming celebrations (myself included, usually), I think going that extra mile is a nice way to show you care – and you can have a lot of fun creating your treats and gifts.

Here’s mine, have you ever made your own presents?

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The best bread

I was thinking, a loaf of standard white sliced loaf can cost up to £1.50, so how much would I save by spending a little time and effort on baking my own? After being persuaded by Channel 4’s River Cottage: Bread I headed off to the supermarket for the basic ingredients. And basic they are.

Using just flour, salt, yeast and water, I made a lovely loaf of white bread that tasted (and smelled) miles better than the store bought version. With a little help from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and a BBC Good Food recipe, I am proud to share my latest baked goods and the ingredients cost me around £1 and will make three good-sized, hearty loaves.

Homemade bread tasted just as good.

Superscrimpers: Tried and tested

If you have ever watched Channel 4’s documentary programme Superscrimpers, you may have picked up some tips and tricks on how to save money on everything from car insurance, the weekly food shop, cooking and interior design. While some ideas are great (like cutting the top off your moisturiser when it is running low to get that extra bit out), others leave a little to be desired. But one thing that I am keen on doing is finding ways to get my pampering fix without breaking the bank. The experts of Superscrimers suggest making your own hot cloth face pack using olive oil and a hot towel, using talc as a dry shampoo and even using baking powder as a tooth whitener.

Always one for painting my nails and trying out new colours, I attempted to recreate a ‘leopard print’ design as seen on the TV using some bright varnishes in my make-up bag and a black liquid eyeliner. Yes, a liquid eyeliner – strange but it really works.

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One shall have her cake

Happy Jubilee weekend!

In true Diamond Jubilee spirit, I have put my DIY baking/decorating skills to the test. While some may have their bunting hanging, my kitchen has been brightened up by this gem. A classic victoria sponge inside, my Union Jack cake is enough to get me in a celebratory mood.

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Tastes better when it’s free

Just as my Cafe Nero loyalty card was full up with stamps, a new one has been started. Of course, I bagged my free drink (Caramelatte if you’re wondering) and it was delicious. I even took a little pic of it to emphasise this and to show off my freebie of the day. My wet feet drama is now a distant memory.

Lovely free coffee to soothe the rainy day outside.