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How To…Make Mini Washi Tape Flags

I spent all of yesterday afternoon outside indulging in a spot of gardening. I had collected quite a few packets of herb seeds so decided to get them in some soil ready for salads and cocktails in the summer.

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Whilst I do use dried herbs in my cooking, there is no substitute for fresh herbs and rather than continue to buy the fresh pots at the supermarket which last about a week, I decided to create my own little collection. I already have two healthy parsley plants on the go and yesterday I planted thyme, basil, mint and coriander seeds in various planters.

First up was a lovely wooden herb planter I picked up last week that contained everything you need to grow basil and thyme. I also got one of these for my friend Hannah’s birthday a few weeks ago. I have to admit that I have a really bad habit when buying presents for people where I also pick up one for myself too! I think this shows that I have good taste in presents and I buy my friends something that I would use too but it can get expensive!

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This planter set was really simple to use and I think these ready-to-go sets are great for those who don’t have a lot of room at home to garden or the less confident gardener.

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Armed with my trusty Cath Kidston gardening gloves and a cup of tea, I planted these seeds, watered them and then set them up on my kitchen windowsill in the sunlight. (Excuse the hideous windowsill picture…we are mid-tiling!)

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Next up was mint. As this is a very invasive plant, I wanted to keep this in a planter on its own so it wouldn’t be able to spread or take over any other nearby plants. I popped the mint seeds into some freshly packed compost and placed it in a shady spot in the garden.

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Then I planted up my coriander seeds (which smelt lovely and lemony)…

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…and some more basil as we can get through lots of this in salads.

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So that was all the hard work completed and I will do a post in a few weeks to see how these seeds have got on and some recipes that I use these different herbs in…maybe I’ll have a ‘Herb Week’ on the blog – wait and see!

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I was left with several pots but no labels to tell which was which. I know it is fairly obvious to see once the herbs start growing but I decided to attempt a little DIY craft session to make my own planter flags.

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These are so easy to make and could also be used in cocktails or as cake/ cupcake toppers too.

If you haven’t come across washi tape before, it is Japanese fabric tape which can be used for almost anything. Just Google it or have a look on Pinterest and you will see lots of cool ways to use it (my favourite is the Washi Tape Bicycle!) but it is also great for present wrapping with plain brown parcel paper.

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I got these from ebay for about £1 each and I had to be very restrained only buying three rolls as the patterns are all so pretty!

To make these flags, you will need:

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  • Washi tape
  • Scissors
  • Cocktails sticks
  • A pen

Cut the washi tape to size and peel off the backing paper (excuse my grubby fingers and the soil still under my nails!)

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Place a cocktails stick in the middle of the tape

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Fold it across as evenly as you can

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Write on your message/ herb and then cut a small triangle out of one end to make them look super cute!

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And here they are in action…no herbal confusion in this house now…I just need to keep my fingers crossed that these all start growing!herb14 herb15 herb8 herb9 herb11

These are also on my kitchen windowsill now and loved the sunshine we had today!

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Recipe – Courgette, Feta and Mint Salad

With barbecue season in full swing, it is easy to focus on the meat and marinade and just grab a bag of salad from the bottom of the fridge to add a bit of greenery to your plates. However, it is a real shame to overlook the side dishes and luckily it is really simple to make this fantastic and fresh warm salad to accompany your barbecue.

Courgettes and feta are a classic combination, and the addition of mint and lemon make it a summery treat.

Ingredients

3 courgettes, sliced

A good glug of olive oil

A handful of feta, cubed

A bunch of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

A few squeezes of lemon juice

Salt and pepper

How to make it

  • Heat some oil in a large pan and gently griddle the courgettes until golden brown
  • While the courgettes are cooking, mix together 3 parts olive oil to 1 part fresh lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Remove the courgettes from the heat, add the feta and mint leaves and drizzle over the dressing
  • Finish with a squeeze of lemon and serve

Pomegranate Punch

We had a power cut yesterday evening. The whole village was plunged into darkness, which meant torches were grabbed, candles were lit and all the surrounding houses had a warm glow coming out from behind the curtains. It looked so cosy that I was almost disappointed when the power came back on!

Lots of neighbours were popping next door to check on people, which made me feel really happy to be living in a village that has that kind of community feeling where we all look out for each other.

It did of course mean we had to create our own fun, so out came the ukulele and I played the only two tunes I currently know, until I was finally asked to stop! Hehe

We now need to try and figure out how to reset all the timers on various kitchen equipment, and catch up on the new series of The Apprentice!

My Dad is still staying with us meaning we have had dish after dish of gorgeous home-cooked food;

Ribs (which were left to marinate and tenderise in a brine before being cooked until they were literally falling off the bone)

And Chicken Cacciatore, a lovely Italian dish

It is lovely to be able to come home after a long day at school and not have to worry about cooking, although his services don’t include the washing up!

Today’s quick recipe is for a summery punch, and it also meant I got to use my new stripy straws for the first time!

I can see myself making this cocktail time and time again over the summer. The pomegranate is sweet, yet crisp, and mint adds a refreshing element to the drink. I made this sans alcohol, but I plan to experiment with adding dashes of vodka and amaretto to it too.

Ingredients

Pomegranate juice

Fresh mint

Sparkling water or lemonade

A teaspoon of sugar (optional)

How to make it

  • Begin by picking sprigs of mint and tearing them to release their sweet flavour
  • Put the mint in the bottom of the glass or jug and fill it roughly two thirds full with pomegranate juice then top with the sparkling water
  • Add the sugar if needed and give it a stir
  • After a few minutes, the mint will start to infuse so enjoy over ice, with pretty straws and preferably in the sun!