donsje bags

Fun Things

For something a little different today, I wanted to share some fun things I’ve found to help spread a little cheer and happiness.  Consider it looking after our mental sustainability ;)

Cute Things

donsje bags

Dutch based Donsje win the award for world’s cutest kids shoes and accessories – all of which are fairly made in Indonesia.  I can’t pick a favourite – it’s between the deer purse and the lion shoes.  I’m currently trying to talk myself down from buying a pair for my littlest.  She does need new shoes, but does she need lion shoes…?!

Why Didn’t I Know About This Before Things

seedlip non alcoholic spirit

Did you know about alcohol free gin?  Yes, you read that correctly – alcohol free gin.  I did not until now, and I have been pregnant twice.  That’s 18.5 months (an extra 0.5 there on account of the first being so late) of my adult life pregnant and unable to drink gin, and being completely unaware of an alcohol free alternative.   I weep.

So whether you are currently pregnant, or you are the designated driver, or you just fancy something refreshing on a hot day at a time when it may be socially unacceptable to drink gin then I feel it’s my civic duty to recommend trying out Seedlip.

The nice people at 31Dover.com sent me a bottle to try out, and I have been enjoying it very much.  Distilled in the UK using botanicals, such as spearmint, rosemary and thyme, it’s crafted in a similar manner to a gin, just without the alcohol.  As well as being alcohol free, it’s also sugar and sweetener free, giving it a grown up taste rather than simply being a cordial.

It’s recommended to serve over ice, with elderflower tonic and a ribbon of cucumber.  I’d also add to those recommendations a sunny garden or balcony, bare feet and a good book or good company!

Literary Things

Frankie Magazine put this list together of books to read when you’re pissed off at the world which I found myself nodding along with.  I’ve mentally added some books to my list of things to read one day when I’ve got time and no little people asking for snacks or drinks, or for me to put CBeebies on or to put a pair of trousers on Barbie.  It’s going to happen one day, right?

Tiny Things

anonymouse_mxx sweden mouse house

Finally, a group of unknown street artists in Sweden, going by the name of AnonyMouse (I see what they did there), are building tiny hangouts for mice, including an “amousement” arcade, a fortune teller’s caravan, an Italian restaurant and more.  The mouse economy must be booming!  Follow along on Instagram for the tiniest and sweetest art installations that aren’t at all cheesy.

Got any fun things you want to share?

how to dry mint leaves for tea

How To Dry Mint Leaves for Tea

homemade peppermint tea

Let’s talk about how to dry mint leaves for tea.

I never used to be a peppermint tea kind of lady but in what feels like a lifetime ago (pre kids) my partner and I went on holiday to Morocco.  In the middle of Marrakesh’s bustling main square, Jemaa el-Fna, we found a quiet cafe – a refuge from the searing 45°C African heat and the unrelenting snake charmers.

All the guidebooks warned us against drinking tap water, anything with ice in it, or the freshly squeezed orange juice served ubiquitously all over the square, for fear of stomach upset, so our options were dwindling.   Boiled water seemed like a safe bet, and besides, the heat had been so intense that we had reached the point where it was so hot we figured we may as well try the hot drink on a hot day trick, because we felt we simply couldn’t get any hotter.

We ordered up some peppermint tea, and what arrived were some pretty little glasses stuffed with fresh mint leaves and some freshly boiled water on the side.  And do you know what?  That tea, on a roaring hot day in what felt like the busiest place in the world really hit the spot.  We ending up in that cafe many times during our time in Marrakesh, drinking their fresh peppermint tea.

Since then we’ve grown peppermint in our garden for the purpose of having some fresh peppermint to hand to make tea with.  Which is all well and good in the summer, but in Scotland in winter doesn’t really work.  Here I’ve resorted to tea bags, but after the whole plastic in tea bags thing I’ve been thinking about how to de-plastic my tea.

Right now our mint plant is growing so vigorously that we have an over abundance of fresh peppermint – more than I can possibly drink – so I have been drying mint leaves in the oven to store for the winter.

Some people hang their herbs up to dry but with a lack of space and a lack of a warm dry space, I prefer to dry mine in the oven.  If you’re in a similar predicament here’s how to dry mint leaves for tea in the oven.

how to dry mint leaves for tea

How to Dry Mint Leaves for Tea

How To Dry Mint Leaves for Tea

Ingredients

  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Clean dry jar

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 80°C
  2. Pick the peppermint stalks (I cut just below the last leaf) and place in a colander.
  3. Give the colander a good shake to remove any beasties, and then give the stalks a wash under cold running water.
  4. Gently dry the leaves using a tea towel and remove any discoloured leaves.
  5. Spread the stalks out on a baking tray and bake in the oven for around 1.5 hours - keeping an eye on them to ensure the leaves don't burn.
  6. You can tell the leaves are fully dried out when the leaves become very crisp and brittle. When they are sufficiently dry remove from the oven and gently remove the leaves from the stalks, placing the leaves in a clean dry airtight jar.  I then compost the stalks.
http://moralfibres.co.uk/how-to-dry-mint-leaves-for-tea/

Your mint will store for at least 12 months if kept in a cool dark cupboard.

Rather than cutting up the whole of my peppermint plant, I’ve been cutting an oven dish worth of leaves every week or two, to allow for new growth so as to keep me in fresh leaves for tea over the summer, and to build up a nice stock of dried mint for winter time.

To serve I add one to two teaspoons of dried leaves to either a strainer, infuser, teapot, or reusable teabag (whatever you’ve got, basically), then add boiling water, and allow it to infuse for a few minutes before drinking.

drying peppermint leaves in the oven

dried peppermint leaves