Hello and Merry Christmas my Barclays friends!

Today I’m showing you how to create an inexpensive and fun Christmas or holiday table and I’m sharing a delicious Healthy Christmas Ham recipe and scrumptious veggie dish too.

If you've ever hosted, well... anything before, you'll know that it's very easy for the price to somehow get a bit out of hand.

While hosting a gathering can become an expensive ordeal, it doesn’t have to be.

Whether you're hosting a luscious meal for a special event in the holidays, a lavish Christmas lunch, or just want to make everyday a little more exciting, creating the perfect tablescape is the best way to upcycle your table and make a splash. 

Your decorating ideas needn’t be fancy to be really effective, I’d love to show you some uncomplicated and inexpensive ways to decorate your table this year. For example, for Christmas last year I used decorating magazines as placemats. They were a big talking point, and everyone wanted to take them home afterwards.

If you’re planning a gathering, you can turn heads by making menu cards with brown paper. You can also use it to name your ingredients or even wrap cutlery or gift-wrap fresh herbs. Or put your cutlery in brown paper bags and tie the tops with twine or ribbon, or just fold them over.

Real plants and foliage offer free table décor, and you can give them to your friends to take home as a simple and sweet gifts. Twigs, colourful leaves, branches and plants such as jasmine look beautiful as a centrepiece or runner. Cut sprigs and weave them across the table. It’s fun being a forager!

Bring some sparkle to the room by hanging pressed autumn leaves on fishing line from the dining room or kitchen window.

Take upcycling to the maximum and make merry by re-using jars to create stunning snow globes. Glue down small objects or ornaments from around the house and use desiccated coconut as snow.

Turn your next trip to the beach into a treasure hunt. It’s amazing what you can find. Pick up shells, coral, driftwood and feathers, and use them to decorate your table. All you need is a bit of creativity.

If you gear your table towards simplicity, naturalness and eco-consciousness, it can look authentic and needn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

So if you’re now feeling inspired, it's time to talk tablescapes and share some ideas with you for this holiday season.

Before we jump straight into the creation of a tablescape, we need to start at the very beginning because as Julie Andrews says, it’s a very good place to start.

I recommend choosing a theme – this helps you create a beautiful environment that’s somewhat cohesive and looks pre-planned. Let your creative spirit run free and choose anything you like.

Maybe you love a garden style with some flowers or pots from the garden; maybe you’re into oceanic views and want to pick up a few seashells and corals, or maybe you’re into minimalism and want things plain and simple!

If you’re big into colour-coding, you could choose one block colour or a few colours and textures. Find a feel that works for you.

Next, you must decide your base. If you’re going for a theme that’s loud, a plain white tablecloth may be your go-to, or maybe, choose a colourful one! You know what? You can even ditch the cloth and use pieces of fabric instead.

If you want to know my helpful hint, inexpensive brown paper works like a charm too. I also like parts of old wood - wood you look at that?!

It's now time we figure out the plates you’re going to serve the food on, the most important part of a dinner party. I love going into second-hand stores for pre-loved and quirky finds that are super vintage. Remember, not everything needs to match. You can use contrasting colours, textures and patterns. Just think about the overall look you’re trying to achieve; if it works, then it works.

Now, it’s decorating time. Let your creative juices flow! Whether it’s dinner for one, a romantic candle-lit dinner for two, a family gathering or girl’s night in, let your imagination roam free.

One of my favourite ways to decorate a table is by letting the food provide colour on the table. If you're a lover of all things red and deep purple, citrus fruits, pomegranate seeds and pumpkins always look gorgeous.

I love using cinnamon sticks, lavender and rosemary (not at the same time!) to create a beautiful aroma; who needs a diffuser anyway?

For a larger gathering, you may choose to place cutlery in a wooden box or rustic second-hand container or tin. If you’re going outdoors, feel free to use flowerpots as utensil holders too.

Like any good Instagrammer, remember to recycle and upcycle your jars! You can use these jars to create a bohemian wonderland. Save all your spice jars and glass jars and cluster them together to hold flowers or even hand-made condiments.

If you gear your table towards simplicity, naturalness and eco-consciousness, it can look authentic and needn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Ready for a supercharged Christmas recipe?

For a mouth-watering main meal why not try this sumptuous Christmas ham with all the trimmings? It will most certainly be enjoyed by all.

The wonderful thing about this dish is that it’s so super easy to prepare and looks stunning when you serve it on a wide white platter dish accompanied by seasonal roasted vegetables.

Decorate with a Christmassy tartan ribbon bound around fresh rosemary for a visually elegant feast.

Gluten Free Glazed Christmas Ham with Rosemary

Serves 8

What you’ll need:

  • 1 large leg of ham on the bone
  • 6 cloves garlic unpeeled
  • 1 packet whole cloves
  • Filtered water for baking
  • 1 TBS peppercorns
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Rosemary for decoration


  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 6 TBS sugar-free seeded mustard
  • 4 tablespoons ripe fresh apricots or peaches smashed (optional)


Preheat Oven to 160 Celsius

Remove the skin from the leg of ham place your finger between the rind and the fat, and move back and forth while gently removing the skin with your other hand

Score the ham in a criss-cross diamond pattern with a knife just cutting into the fat 2cm apart

Place the cloves into the diamond points in the ham and sprinkle with peppercorns, and sea salt

Now it’s time to make the glaze, place apricots, mustard, ACV, cinnamon and maple syrup into a small saucepan and whisk over a high heat, bringing it to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes to reduce the glaze. The consistency should be like syrup. 

Remove from heat.

Place the ham on a roasting dish grate with 1 inch of water beneath it in the pan and spoon the glaze over the top of the ham

Place in the oven and bake for 2 ½ hours basting every half an hour

After 1 ½ hours place whole unpeeled garlic into baking dish

Remove when golden brown let sit and cool then decorate with fresh rosemary

Eggplant, Pomegranate and Minted Quinoa Salad

Eggplant has vitamins and minerals in spades. It’s rich in manganese, folic acid and all- important thiamine, the mineral that helps convert blood sugar into glucose for energy. Eggplant also contains a rare antioxidant known as nasunin. Found under the eggplant’s skin, nasunin has been shown to protect brain cells from free-radical damage.

Serves 4


  • 1 zucchini (courgette), sliced
  • 1 eggplant (aubergine), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, whole
  • 80 ml (21/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, plus extra, for drizzling
  • Celtic sea salt
  • 270 g (91/2 oz/1 cup) cooked quinoa
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 bunch of mint, leaves only, plus extra, to serve
  • 1 bunch of coriander (cilantro), leaves only, plus extra, to serve
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds only
  • 2 avocados, peeled, stones removed and sliced into wedges
  • 4 small spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • 125 g (41/2 oz/1 cup) slivered almonds


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

Place the zucchini, eggplant and garlic on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast for about 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, place the quinoa in a bowl with the lemon juice and zest and the olive oil. Combine well.

Place in a salad bowl with all the other ingredients and serve topped with extra mint and coriander leaves.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Lee xo

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