Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies


There's something about Christmas that makes me want to bake. I guess it's the cold weather outside, mixed with the fact that calories don't count in December (right?).

One Sunday morning, my sister S (the baker of the family) and I decided to put this Pinterest pin / recipe to the test, opting for golden syrup over molasses (because who has molasses to hand?!).

Scroll down for my top tips...


  • Golden syrup is a great alternative to molasses in this recipe
  • Much easier with an electric whisk! S and I had to play tag with the wooden spoon...
  • Difficulty rating is medium due to the absence of an electric whisk, plus the recipe quantities produce a lot of snowflakes - so it's tricky getting them all baked while finding enough cooling racks-!
  • Make sure you stock up on baking paper and have a couple of cooling racks at the ready
  • Don't forget icing sugar for decoration (best applied with a piping bag)

Will you be baking this Christmas? See what I've been pinning to my Food board if you're in need of some inspiration!

Star Lights


Star curtain lights have been shooting across my Pinterest news feed in recent weeks, with many people opting to place them in their kitchen windows. I love this idea as it adds some sparkle while keeping essential kitchen surface space free for cooking, baking and entertaining.

Simply purchase a set of these and hook them to the back of a roman blind (if you don't have a blind, a lot of people buy these alongside their amazon purchase). And there you have it - a quick and simple way to add some festive lights to your home without breaking the bank.


Make sure a plug socket is nearby before hanging!

For more affordable Christmas decor ideas, check out Festive Fruit.

Festive Fruit

For me, festive fragrances play a huge role in turning a home into a cosy Christmas grotto. So much activity happens during December that creates incredible aromas: Gingerbread in the oven, wood on the fire, Christmas tree pine needles, that sugary smell that emerges from a newly opened tin of Quality Streets... 

But until celebrations crank up a notch, a quick way to introduce some Christmas anticipation into your home without the sugary overkill is via festive fruits. A great transitional fragrance from autumn to winter, they are all over my Pinterest feed at the moment, in all scents and sizes.

Here are my favourites:

Cloved Oranges

Difficulty rating: Medium

Cloved oranges (traditionally known as pomanders) smell incredible. Not only that, but pop them in a bowl and you've got one good looking centre piece on your hands. 

Scroll down for my top tips...


  • I'll be honest, while they look easy, they're not! Cutting the zest deep enough to make an indent while trying to maintain a decent pattern is tricky.
  • Use a skewer to pierce the hole for your clove first as it'll make it easier to sit the clove in the pith.
  • Be VERY careful. These cloved oranges were created with a knife but I would have used the corner of a citrus zester if I had one. I definitely wouldn't recommend using a knife - way too dangerous, especially when you're working with a waxy round object.
  • For extra fragrance, roll your oranges in ground spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and (more!) cloves.

Dried Fruit

Difficulty rating: Easy

In the days before glass baubles and snow globes, people used dried fruit to decorate their homes and add a festive fragrance. Mama B recently purchased a food dehydrator to create her own fruit decorations and here's the result: 

It's incredible what you can do with them. Every year, my local shopping centre hosts a festive fruit stall. You can purchase wreaths...

Or a full-blown REINDEER!

Whether you make your own or purchase a wreath or two, definitely try this Pinterest trend out and let me know what you think. 

And for those who want to completely embrace the trend, I urge you to try Pret's orange spiced hot chocolate. It's like drinking Christmas (and isn't as pricey as Starbucks):


Why not go all-out and make a fruit-filled Mary Berry Christmas cake? - Baking it will unleash the most incredible Christmas aroma to your home. 

Glitter Animals

Difficulty Rating: Easy (But Messy)

While on the hunt for some cake topper ideas for my Mary Berry Christmas cake, I stumbled across these glitzy animal toppers on Pinterest. Simply purchase a tube of these, apply PVA glue with a paint brush and sprinkle glitter over them! 

Scroll down for my top tips...


  • Safety shout-out: While the glitter is non toxic, it's not for use by children under 3 years.
  • Beware - this is glitter we're dealing with. It goes everywhere! Make sure this DIY happens on a wipe-clean surface.
  • 3-4 will be joining these trees on top of my Christmas cake. I'll be making sure to brush any excess glitter off my icing before serving!
  • I'll be using the remaining herd as gift tag accessories and decorations on my dining room bookshelves to add some sparkle.
  • If you want to keep it more rustic, simply add glitter to specific parts of your animals e.g. antlers or hooves.
  • Toy manufacturer Safari Ltd offers many other themed animal Toobs from around the world. I went for North American wildlife as I really wanted a moose on my cake (the name of Mama & Papa B's new labrador) - as it's his first Christmas with us. Rainforest, coral reef, mythical - so many Toobs are available for different cakes and crafts! You can even get arctic animals (for an arctic roll or an icy-looking baked Alaska) - perfect for this time of year.

Keep an eye on Maison Bailey the week before Christmas to see these sparkly characters in action. For more festive cake topper ideas, check out my Christmas board on Pinterest.



In a Pickle


Every Christmas, L and I pack up our bags and head to Sussex for a much needed relax and veg-out at my parents' home. Usually, we come armed with unusual beers from around the world, tubs of Twiglets and (last year's discovery) - pink port! This year, I wanted to contribute some homemade treats as an extra special thank you to Mama B.

With my Mary Berry Christmas cake sorted and steeping in brandy for the next few weeks, I turned to Pinterest for my next project. As you can imagine, there were millions of ideas on there! So I started thinking about Christmas at my parents, and what might be handy. Every Boxing Day, we put leftover turkey and ham on big sharing platters, turn leftover veg into Papa B's bubble & squeak, make some mashed potato and empty the fridge of pickles and condiments to add some zing.

With that in mind, I found this pickled onion recipe, popped on my apron and gave it a go.

(Scroll down for my top tips...)



  • You must soak your onions in salt the night before you want to pickle them.
  • As you peel each onion, pop it into your jar so you get the right amount and don't waste any. (Make sure to sterilise your jar beforehand!)
  • Use a label maker to clearly mark what it is / when you made it. This will prove useful for your host and hostess giftees in case you don't get around to enjoying it together over Christmas. (Let's face it - so much food, so little time!)
  • Get creative and add some festive decoration to your jar via a bow and label. I love using my star punch to jazz up ordinary gift tags. Hobbycraft offer a great selection - I especially like this snowflake one for Christmas gifts. Glitter pens also add some sparkle but make sure to allow time for drying.

That's it! This Pinterest project was really easy to recreate and makes the perfect host & hostess gift at Christmas. Not only is it that extra bit of thoughtfulness and effort, but for me, pickled onions add that punch of flavour during a week-long food graze.

Will you try a homemade gift this Christmas? Join in the conversation over on Twitter.