homemade and heartfelt gifts

Call me old fashioned, but I don’t like having to tell people what I want for Christmas. I always hope that people know me enough to pick me surprise gifts. I’m not ungrateful, but as grown ups, we don’t get many (good) surprises do we?

That said, when someone gives me something that shows they get me, well, it makes me crumble. Read on for some things that will hopefully help you give someone that ‘they get me’ crumble.

Make something

If you’re fed up of being sent Amazon wish lists from people and want to inject a bit of old school Christmas makery and surprise, then you can’t go wrong with something homemade and edible.

My mum is the queen of the homemade hamper – I guess I’m the princess in training then. Every year she makes homemade chutneys, pickles, biscotti and limoncello or sloe gin to pack up for her friends. She’s the one who gave me the chilli jam recipe below. It is so blummin easy to make. I’d love you to have a bash. Lock yourself in the kitchen for a couple of hours, put on some good music and cook your way through some of these recipes. Most of them are a doddle to make with children too.

Here are the links to some of the goodies I make to give at Christmas…


Thai tomato and chilli jam


Peppermint bark


Chocolate pretzels and almonds

lemon curd


Lemon or grapefruit curd


A jar of dukkah


Preserved lemons

blackberry bay infused gin

blackberry and bay infused gin




Salted apricot caramel truffles

Buy from a small business

When you buy something from a real person, who puts their heart and soul into their business, you’ll get a better gift and a warm feeling knowing that you’re helping someone feel that all their hard work is worth it. It can be a tough slog running a business – especially if you want to do things properly. These are two of my favourite independent shops, both run by inspiring women who put their hearts into what they do…


edit58 – a beautifully curated shop selling all the things I’d love in my house. If you need serious house and shoe envy inspiration follow her insta.


Object Style – a recent find, I’d do a happy dance if any of the goodies from here were in my stocking.

And if you’d like to buy someone a cooking class with me, you can click to buy a gift card here. That way a friend can choose to come either to a group class or a private class with me.

Let me know how you get on

I’d love to see what you make – share this with your friends and on my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest – remember to tag #ystcook with your social media pics so I can see them.

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