Wear the shoes – life isn’t a dress rehearsal. I last wore these in Barcelona on our honeymoon – my younger niece loved them. Don’t worry I’ve been wearing other irregular shoes just not these.
‘Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary’ Professor Brene Brown, University of Houston – a social work academic with expertise in courage, vulnerability and empathy.
It’s not #BlueMonday in Manchester, or anywhere else, today; it was made up to sell holidays and products. It did reminded me of Blue Monday by New Order, one of my favourite Manchester bands. Happy memories of gigs over the years too. But all the emphasis about negativity with ‘Blue Monday’ certainly doesn’t help people, so I liked the idea of #brewmonday promoted by the Samaritans – have a brew with friends and talk.
It has been raining heavily most of the day, but the clouds cleared briefly, so I dashed round the garden looking for flowers, the hellebores are showing no signs of flowering, there were just a few shaggy flowers on the perennial purple wallflower. There was just a solitary viola tucked away – I decided to pair it with an small bottle which contained Manchester Gin, the flower still has raindrops on it. The quote jumped out at me too – sums up my thinking on looking for the positive in small moments. I try to look for the positive, in the small things in life, as well as the big things.
I’ve had violas appear many times in my Vases on a Monday, we had violas at our wedding too. Oh and by the way, my favourite Manchester-made Gin is Manchester Raspberry – lovely especially with fresh raspberries.
Do have a look at Rambling in the Garden where Cathy hosts In A Vase on a Monday – where gardening bloggers from around the world add links to their vases. Always beautiful, interesting or unusual – including plenty of southern hemisphere bloggers who brighten my days in the depths of Winter here.
Adventures around Manchester this week
We had are first meeting of the year at Cottonopolis WI (Ancoats, Manchester) I paid my subs, voted on the resolution shortlist and heard about the activities for the year. It was lovely to see everyone and catch up on news. I didn’t finish my piece of bunting but nearly there – I’m very slow at sewing. I’m looking forward to more adventures #IamWI #InspiringWomen.
Join us for a brew and cake if you’re local. We’re going to meet on first Tuesday of the month – so it will be #brewtuesday not #brewmonday, but you get the idea.
I’m continuing with #selfcare, daily mindfulness, and yoga classes twice a week. I’m reading more about selfcare too. We’ve been walking every day despite the weather.
DAY 14 was JOY. There’s joy in the ordinary days (#onehouroutside a walk around our neighbourhood) and the unique days (our wedding day last year). But as Brene mentions, don’t just chase the extraordinary….
DAY 15: BEAUTY
I chose the photos below, revelling in the beauty of flowers in small places and vast. I need time outdoors, in the garden, in the woods, in the wild countryside and by the sea. I’ve said this many times in this blog – it’s vital to my selfcare and my routine.
We visit Bodnant often; we got engaged there in June 2016 in the Rose Garden. Bodnant is owned by the National Trust. It is near Conwy, in North Wales. It’s a stunning garden anytime of year, with views over Snowdonia.
- Bodnant Gardens – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden
I’m enjoying following #savouringJanuary2018 as it’s reminding me of what matters to me, goals and time to reflect. I’m still working on my CompassYear goals – small steps.
It’s not too late to get involved in the photo prompts with Gabrielle Treanor on Instagram (@gabrielletreanor).
See what I pick next… For Day 16: OLD
Monday 15th January is however, Martin Luther King Day, in the USA (his birthday), so I’ll leave you with an MLK quote which resonates with me…
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do keep moving forward’ Martin Luther King (1929-1968)
We all need to continue with Martin Luther King’s work…
Keep going, keep moving, keep growing,
What are you planning this week?
The weather is looking horrible here in the North West so I don’t think there will be much gardening – but I’ll be crafting.
Love Bec xx xx xx
‘Nevertheless, She persisted’ American Feminist expression (2017– )
I’ve been thinking this week about this tenacious rose flowering outside our front door – watching its progress – it’s been this soft peachy/yellow from bud. This is the fourth set of flowers the rose has produced; it flowered in November too. The colour of the rose has changed though, the buds are usually a bright orange that fades to red and yellow. I know more expert gardeners than me will know why the colour is so different, for a start it was only pruned in the Spring last year. Life over took us in 2018, so our garden was rather neglected. With the rose are some rosehips and a purple recycled glass bud vase, which I bought in the Eden Project. The vase appeared a few times for ‘In a Vase on Monday’ but the rose has only appeared once before:
- In a Vase on Monday – sunny yarrow, oranges and reds – 8 August 2015
I’ve made a note to cut more flowers from the rose this year 🙂
This rose was one of the few plants in my front garden when I moved in eight years ago, it was in a right state. My Chap does the pruning and has certainly revived the rose. I hope flowering in a cold snap, won’t have too much impact on the rose flowering in 2018.
Do check out Cathy’s blog at Rambling in the Garden for more ‘In a Vase on Monday’ arrangements from around the world – some using vases and some not. There’s always something beautiful to lift your spirits.
YearCompass – www.yearcompass.com
It’s the time of year for resolutions; I’ve mention before I don’t really do resolutions, I prefer to think of intentions rather that ‘give something up’ or ‘start something’, it just leads to failure and disappointment usually by the second week of January. I try to avoid all the ‘new year, new me’ in the media. However I try daily changes, being mindful, trying and trying to avoid self sabotage – keep going…
But given what a momentous year 2017 was in both good and bad ways, I decided I needed to find something to help me close off 2017, and help me think though my dreams and aspirations for 2018. I found an excellent short document made by the volunteers of YearCompass and Invisible University International in Hungary. The project began in 2012, is based on psychological theories, has a booklet helping people close their year and plan their next year. The booklet has been downloaded over 400,000 and translated into 22 languages.
The booklet is 20 pages and you need a couple of hours to complete for 2017 and about 4 hours for 2018.
2017 – the past year
- Looking through the year focusing on family life, work, home, friends, community, Fitness, etc.
- Looking at decisions, support, gratitude, resilience, challenges and accomplishments.
2018 – next year
- What I want to achieve focusing on family life, work, home, friends, community, fitness, etc.
- Questions like: Visit three places, three things to do every morning, three things to discover… And many other questions.
- Pick a word for the year ahead.
- And you sign ‘I believe anything is possible this year’.
It was very illuminating – and thought provoking, and threw up a few topics I’d not really considered.
Find out more about CompassYear (and download the booklet) at www.yearcompass.com
I discussed what I’d written, with My Chap and old friends, who reminded me of my determination and resilience. I’ll be coming back to what I’ve written and the plans I’ve made for 2018.
I’ve been doing more of the things that lift me . I’ve been continuing with daily #mindfulness, yoga and #Onehouroutside.
#Onehouroutside was started by one of the Outdoor Bloggers Zoe from www.splodzblogz.co.uk. I’m on a roll with one hour outside – I’ve managed at least an hour outside since mid December. I’m making a note in my journal as sometimes walking for an hour isn’t feasible (work or bad weather).
It’s been near zero again this week in Manchester, some crisp sunny days with blue skies, alternating with gales and rain. My back garden is a quagmire, but we are fortunate there are Canals and footpaths on our doorstep.
I wrote about a local walk last week – Monton to Worsley Green circular walk (about 3 miles). I’ll be writing more about local walks, inspired by Sarah from Urban Wanderer who has many good walks around Greater Manchester and Lancashire. Have a look:
My plan for this week is to listen to some mindful walking podcast while I’m out walking. Usually I’m just mindfully breathing, counting breaths and steps, looking around me at the surroundings.
- If you have any suggestions for mindful walking podcasts please let me know in the comments
As I mentioned last week, I enjoyed the @blurtfoundation Instagram Challenge #blurtmerrycalmness so I’ve looked around for another photo challenge. I found Gaynor Treanor on Instagram who writes about selfcare and mindfulness. So I’ve been following #savouringJanuary2018.
Today 8 January 2018 it was DAY 8: NOURISH #savouringJanuary2018
This definition spoke to me ‘necessary for growth, health and good condition’. It’s about taking care of yourself, doing the best you can for yourself, self-care and mindfulness. Good food matters too 🙂
- What #selfcare have you done today?
- Have you been kind to yourself today?
I’m feeling positive for 2018 – I think my intentions are feasible 😉 I’ll report back how I get on,
Love Bec xx xx xx
‘It’s never too late in life to have a genuine adventure’ Robert Kurson, author (1963– )
Happy New Year everyone, may your 2018 be happy and healthy. We’ve been down south to visit my Mum, and only got back to Salford for Hogmanay, so I decided to pick plants from both gardens. I cut some Cornus (dogwood) from my mother’s garden which has bright red stems and variated leaves, and when I got home, I cut some Hypericum from my front garden. My garden is very wet and blown about, but there are crocus and narcissi poking though the soil, and the hellebore are flowering so they will probably get their chance next week in a vase.
This was one of the first vases My Chap bought me; it has appeared a few times in In a Vase on Monday as has the Hypericum, in flower though ;-). There’s a few shoots poking through too, so that seems appropriate for a new year too…
Please have a look at Cathy’s vase this week, over at Rambling in the Garden who hosts IAVOM, as well as contributions from gardeners around the world.
My Mother’s Garden – frosty December 2017
I’ve written a few times about my mother‘s garden, she’s lived in the house since it was built in the 1970s – there’s many happy memories of food, paying games and relaxing in the garden with the family. My mum is the gardener in the family, my Dad mostly dug holes for plants, mowed the lawn and grew herbs. I get my love of gardening from my Mum.
The soil is clay so that’s why much grows in pots and a North facing garden just like ours in Salford. There’s usually a great many fuchsias in pots on the terrace – as usual they’re living in the garage over the winter (there’s a window). My Mum has a gardener to do the heavy work, and pruning now, as she’s been retired along time. My Chap and I do get roped in when we are visiting though.
2017 into 2018
We had a very quiet Hogmanay, it’s been a very tough year with loss, health troubles, especially my osteoarthritis, but I’m on the mend now and am much more myself. But 2017 was the Best of Times too. I married the love of my life 🙂
‘Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share ourselves blessings, all the snow in Alaska won‘t make it ‘white” Bing Crosby (1903–1977)
I’ve been thinking about blessings alot this Christmas One of my favourite Christmas songs is the duet between the mighty very missed David and Bing – The Little Dummer Boy. Though, I don’t consider Christmas season has started until I hear Fairytale of New York.
We have music on most of the time when we are in the house. We’ve got modern Christmas songs at the moment, as we’ve been opening presents, reading cookbooks and drinking coffee. My Chap is reading Lisbon and I’m reading Nigel Slater’s Christmas Chronicles. I think I might be writing about food more on the blog next year – My Chap says he’s going to bake more too.
For my Vase today, I have snowberry from a neighbour’s hedge (I love living in #Monton), some curry plant leaves (as food is integral to our Christmas and life), the Son of Tom hardy fuchsia by the kitchen window (#fuchsias a long time love), bamboo which came in a pot from My Chap’s garden when he moved in with me, and some sticks (red) from the one of the few shrubs in our garden when I got moved in. I’d never noticed before how red the bark is, as it’s usually pruned before now. It’s a bit of a mishmash but that’s a bit like life, isn’t it? We become sum of all the parts.
Cathy over at Rambling in the Garden has bright red Cornus around a candle, on a bed of pine cones and rose hips. Very festive – do have a look at the ‘vases’ from around the world added by the #IAVOM team, they’re added at the bottom of Cathy’s posts every week. These flowers have lifted my soul in the dark times. Thank you everyone 🙂
Cathy will probably fall off her chair in shock, when I post my link as I’m on the right day! I’m usually at least a day late!
So Merry Christmas to all my readers, especially all the In A Vase on Monday gardening bloggers from all around the world – may your gardens’ grow well in the direction you want with few pests (especially slugs!) 🙂
… May your days, be merry and bright… White Christmas (composed by Irving Berlin in 1942)
So let’s have merry and bright days, not just at Christmas but everday. It’s the little things, that make the memories.
So, especially today, I am thinking of all those no longer with us; my darling, unforgettable brother Matt, my wonderful Dad Jay, the man mountain Steve, and the force of Nature, Uncle Fred. All loved cooking and often made turkey curry on Boxing Day :-. My Husband does that too 🙂 I’ve written about them before at Christmas, and will write about them again, I’m sure.
Bright memories – Forever in my heart xx xx xx
I loved ‘The Last Jedi’, it‘s complex, dark and funny. Leia, Luke and Rey showing the way (and yoda too).
‘May the force be with you’ – Star Wars I–VII (1977 –?)
The sun is shining, so my Husband and I are off for a walk, along the Bridgewater Canal, holding hands as usual 🙂 #365daysofselfcare
Today’s photo on Instagram for #blurtmerrycalmness. Day 25: CONNECT – thinking about all our friends and family from around the world who came to celebrate our wedding in September with us 🙂 It was a wonderful day 🙂
Merry Christmas everyone,
Love Bec xx xx xx
‘Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la! ‘Tis the season to be jolly‘ Welsh carol dating from 16th century.
In this case it’s spruce but I’m sure you’ll get the idea 😉 Last Sunday, I went to a wreath making course at Ordsall Hall, a couple of miles from where we live. I’d decided earlier in the year to make our door wreath – My Chap usually comes home with a really blingy one from one of his florist pals. So I’d been on the look out for a course… the one at the Hall, you could bring your own greenery too….and it was a good price too.
How to make a wreath
Huge thanks to Kate from the Gardening team at the Hall – she was great. Do have a look at their plans for the garden for 2018. Their 1918-style allotment is back for 2018.
We could take cuttings from our garden so I took rosemary, some cinnamon sticks from the spice cupboard, pine cones we’d picked up from Worsley woods and some extra spruce branches. There was all sorts of things to add, sparkly ribbons, baubles etc, but I decided to keep the wreath fairly minimalist – and emphasise food 😉
- There was a ring of moss (on the back) and spruce branches on the ring already which I added to. It’s time consuming to make this yourself (and hard on the fingers) and we were only there for a couple of hours.
- Lay out where you want everything to go first, and think about the layers of decoration – branches first.
- It’s exactly the same principle to attach anything to the wreath, wrap the wire tightly around twigs and, and poke the wire through the moss and thread back through tightly and snip off. For the pine cones, wrap around the lowest level of
- Group things in odd numbers, as it looks more natural – same in gardening too.
- I tried dried chillies but they disintegrated 😦
- Remember to water your wreath carefully, with a jug now and again, otherwise the foliage will fade.
- After I took the picture on our front door I added bells on ribbons too.
Elements used: Continue reading
You are enough, just as you are, right now – Anonymous
It’s been minus four all day both today and yesterday in Manchester (Mon 11th/ Tue 12th December 2017), it’s been gloomy but a biting wind. For a change, we swerved the heavy snow, hitting the Midlands instead, there was some snow on the hills that ring the city on Friday Night and during Saturday. We rarely get much more than a smattering of snow, where we live in #Monton, as it’s very flat, near canals and rather built up (the ground is too warm for snow to settle). Not that I’ve seen much of any snow, as I’ve been wiped out by a cold and in bed – my arthritis pain was a bit full on too. As usual My Chap has been looking after me 🙂 Still it could be worse, Cathy who hosts In a Vase on Monday at Rambling in The Garden in the Garden has a Vase of snowdrops and rose hips among rather deep snow this week. There are Northern and Southern Hemisphere contrinbutions so there’s always something lovely.
Today (Tue) I felt a bit better, so I wrapped up well and dashed outside, as I could see pink flowers on a very well sheltered hanging basket, and snipped a few stems. It was the trailing pelargonium (pictured in my blog header), I’ve managed to ‘over winter’ for five years now, along with another pink standard (non trailing) pelargonium. Also I found some lavender and did a little pruning of the rosemary that grows in the front garden and my mini bouquet was ready. I picked one of my mini jugs, partly because it had lovely pink roses on it, but also because I bought it at Bodnant Garden in North Wales in summer 2016. We got engaged there in the Rose Garden 🙂 Reminding me of sunny summer days 🙂
The picture frame and quote ‘you are enough just as you are right now‘ were used as a photo prompt for an Instagram Challenge I’m following from the Blurt Foundation (www.blurtitout.org) for December #blurtmerrycalmness. As it was so cold I took the photo in the porch at the front door; it has been a popular spot for photos recently as it gets the best light and is dry 😉
The photoframe and card represents DAY 7: WORTHY. I think it’s difficult at times to believe you’re good enough, especially if you’re ill and have long term health conditions. I’ve been working on accepting I’m enough. Mindfulness and affirmations help with this too.
Today’s prompt is COMFORT (DAY 12); it’s a picture of our ramen soup we had for dinner but of course, comfort comes from many things, not just physical aspects of life. Ive spoken before about how much IAVOM helps me – how flowers, plants and the great outdoors lift me.
About the Blurt Foundation – INCREASING AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING OF DEPRESSION
Blurt produce a range of resources for people with #anxiety and #depression including these Card Decks – 12 cards in each with affirmations (£8.95 if you buy them seperately). They suggest pulling them out, steadying your breath and reading the cards. These two cards ‘spoke’ to me today…
I received these cards as part of my monthly Buddy Box from Blurt. they describe the boxes as a Hug in Box. These can be ordered as a one off, monthly, for a friend or send a Random Act of Kindness (Blurt pick someone to receive a box who really needs it).
My December box is due this week – and it will contain The Selfcare Project written by Jayne Hardy, Blurt’s Founder and CEO. The book is published on 14th December and can be ordered on Amazon – Print, Audio and Kindle
I’m really looking forward to reading this book – the blog posts and resources from Blurt are excellent. I’ve written a few times about Blurt before – #blurtfoundation
I’ve got much ‘better’ at self-care over the last few years but there’s always new options and ideas. Selfcare, mindfulness, yoga, affirmations are part of my daily life now. I’m on a journey and I’m not at my destination yet.
Do you have favourite affirmations? What’s your #365daysofselfcare routine? Are you going to join in with #blurtmerrycalmness
By the way, I decided not to include any fuchsias in my vase to give you all a rest from them over the last few weeks, but there are a few flowers under the kitchen window sill. Have a look on #fuchsia to see more 🙂
I hope the weather is OK where you are 🙂
Love Bec xxx
*Note: I paid full price for the Buddy Boxes and haven’t been asked to write about them. I wanted tell my readers about the great work Blurt do – and see if anyone want to get involved in #blurtmerrycalmness