Spread kindness like confetti – International Kindness Day 

Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world. Annie Lennox – singer 

If you’ve been anywhere near the Internet, or the news, today you can’t possibly have missed that it’s International Kindness Day.  I don’t know about you but I try to be kind to people, ‘stand in their shoes’, ‘treat people as you’d like to be treated yourself’… I don’t always get kindness back, but hey that’s their problem not mine.  But, what I do know is being kind, helps me be a better person.  It also helps when the world around us looks dark, whether it’s Trump, Brexit or people breaking laws. 

13 November 2017 – Spread kindness like confetti

One of the best things I found today was the 2017 Kindness Advent Calendar from Helen at Make Today Make Today Happy. Have a look!

One of the mantras you often hear, is to list things you’re grateful for, this can be very difficult to do when you’re in the pit of depression or crippled by anxiety.  There’s an organisation that helped me through the dark times, The Blurt Foundation – they know alot about #self-care too.

Today I’m grateful for:

  • My Chap and my family all around the world. 
  • My friends some I’ve known for decades and some arrived in my life more recently.
  • In particular, my Women’s Institute pals most of whom I’ve only known a few years. They’re awesome, inspiring women – come along if you’re local Cottonopolis Women’s Institute – Ancoats, Manchester
  • Have a look at our national HQ for a local group – we’re not what you think we are about. Alleviating Loneliness is one of our resolutions for 2018.
  • The NHS 
  • Yoga and mindfulness 
  • And all the people in my phone – most of whom I’ll never meet who help me – The Sparkle crew who are a lovely bunch as are the Rock and Roll Bride team and the ladies who love irregular choice shoes. 

So my #365daysofselfcare for today:

  • is to help some people out in the forums with queries about things I know about (gardening, wedding queries especially about getting a non-tradional dress made, job applications, health issues). 
  • And virtual hugs for people to far away for a real hug – I hug by husband every day too. 
  • and I’m going to tell people about the Kindness Advant Calender. 

And in case you were wondering? our confetti was lavender from our garden 🙂

So how are you going to spread kindness like confetti? 

Carpe Diem 

Love Bec xx xx xx 

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In a Vase on Monday – sweetpeas (late but not forgotten) 

I’ve not been in the garden as much as I’d like this year, mainly lack of time, far too much going on.  Another devastating bereavement, my wonderful brother, I can’t express in words how much I miss him.   His death in March, led to major health relapse, my osteoarthritis went into meltdown. I’m much better now than I was, back at yoga, walking and feeling much more myself.  One of the reasons, I was so busy, was very good though – My Chap and I got married in September 🙂  more about that in other posts 🙂

It’s never too late to spend time in the garden though, so I’ve been out tidying up, and pruning.  I was at the bottom of the garden, and hidden behind a huge bush of purple perennial wallflower, I found some Spencer sweetpeas still flowering. I was gobsmacked,  as the sweetpeas at the back door, and front door, were over about a month ago.

Pink and purple sweetpeas in tall round glass vase

9 November 2017 – In a Vase on Monday – Spencer sweetpeas with lavender

Finding the sweetpeas reminded me that I’d not joined in with Cathy and her ‘In a Vase on Monday’ over on Rambling in the Garden for over six months.  I need to rectify that!  She’s got a Vase representing fireworks this week – it looks awesome.

So here’s more about the vase and the flowers:

  • these are Spencer sweetpeas,  they grow to over 6 foot, and I love the colour combinations, and of course, the smell. I buy them as small seedlings even though they’d be easy to grow from seed. We’ve only got small window sills and no room for a greenhouse – so needs must.
  • I’ve tried dwarf sweetpeas but the Spencer ones are definitely the most reliable in soggy Salford – if they avoid the slugs 😉
  • Sweet peas have appeared many times In a Vase on Monday over a couple of years – have a look on the #sweetpea hashtag
  • I love their scent – it still manages to waft around our tiny house days after they’ve been picked.
  • The lavender come from the newer plants we bought for our wedding, joining about 7 bushes dotted around our front garden. We’d planned to use them as centre pieces at our wedding but, due to a soggy September, most had gone over by our wedding day.  All wasn’t lost though – lots of lavender confetti.
  • The vase came from a local charity shop – a pound!

Near the wallflower is an offshoot of the honeysuckle, it’s rather taken advantage of one of our garden ‘sculptures’. It had the very last of the flowers. It’s made me smile watching it overtake the poll. And much like the sweetpeas, it’s found a way forward. Not the path it was expecting, but reaching for the light and flowering, despite obstacles – a bit like me.  It’s ‘supposed’ to be growing up the fence about four foot away.  I took a photo in May for #wordlesswednesday which shows how much it’s grown

9 November 2017 – errant honeysuckle and a watering can sculpture (and yoda too)

It’s been a very difficult few years but I am so fortunate to have my Chap holding my hand (sometimes metaphorically), my family and friends all around the world, by my side.  I know I need to take care of myself too.

An empty jug (or watering can) can’t pour – Anonymous

I’ll be paying attention to self-care – mindfulness, yoga, walks, fun, rest, Earl Grey tea – the smell of lavender. #365daysofselfcare

What I do know is Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. So on that note I plan more adventures in the across the North, the world, up a hill or two, buy the sea, drinking a Pimms,  eating a cake or just chilling in the garden.  I hope you’ll join us.

And as Yoda says,

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx xx xx

Wordless Wednesday – determined honeysuckle

Gardening doesn’t usually turn out the way you expected – much like life

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May 2017 – honeysuckle and the watering can

The honeysuckle continued to spread up the sculpture – flowering happily – it seems a shame to cut it back.

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9 November 2017 – honeysuckle, watering can sculpture (and yoda)

Happiness – one week & five things that helped #3

The weather took a major turn for the worse this week (12-19 May 2017) – it’s hurled down for most of the week, the garden certainly needed it – everything was really parched. But, all the rain meant I didn’t get into the garden much, let alone anywhere else. I’ve also been feeling very tired, and arthritis pain is high.  However, I’m continuning to note down activities, people and things that make me happy or I’m grateful for.

As ever, major thanks to Suzy from www.fromthefringe.co.uk who hosts this weekly gratitude link up.  I think she’ll recognise the lighthouse, as she lives around the corner from me 🙂 Also to Emma from www.misspond.co.uk who inspired me to blog and also writes regular posts on Happiness.  Thank you ladies. One of the things, I love about blogging is meeting (usually virtual) new friends, finding a community and developing a network of people all around the world. I’ve been very grateful for them all these last couple of years.

Here are five things that helped bring me happiness this week:

1. Hen Do arrangements 

Officially, according to tradition (recent tradition, mind you), I shouldn’t be organising my own hen do – but I am.  It’s because I have friends from various parts of my life work, locals, friends from uni, women’s institute and friends I met for random reasons over the last 30 years. My two UK bridesmaids have a lot on in their lives at the moment. One lives in London and is doing a Masters. The other is local to me in Lancashire, but she has a very hectic family life, busy life and her own 25th wedding anniversary do to arrange.   I thought I’d get the ball rolling so I asked everyone what they might want to do… So I’ve done a survey – I want to give people a chance to get to know each other, potter around Manchester, and also have some fun.  No dressing up, no tackiness, no clubbing (I’m too nackered). I am quite sure an Afternoon Tea will be involved 🙂

2. A visit to Salford Angels Women’s Institute 

I’ve been a member of Cottonopolis WI (since it started in January 2015), we meet in Ancoats, just north of Manchester city centre, on the first Wednesday of the month (7.30pm). Do come along if you’re a local. There’s always cake 🙂

I’ve written a few times about WI means to me; the fun, camping, adventures and excellent meetings and speakers – it’s most definitely not jam and Jerusalem – it’s been a campaigning organisation since its inception in 1915, lobbying for equal pay, The WI were founding members of both the ‘fair trade’ and ‘Keep Britain Tidy’.

One of the great things about all the new WI’s around Great Manchester is we do lots of joint activities and people attend other WI meetings – so I know ladies all over the city.  So on Thursday I went off to see the Salford Angels and had a lovely evening, with plenty of cake.

3. A walk around our neighbourhood – Monton in Salford

My Chap and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood after we’d had our tea. It’s something we do often in the summer evenings. We have a good look at all the flowers and plants in front gardens, noticing plants for our garden.  It was lovely to chat about this and that, nothing complicated or heavy, just a good chat and a laugh or two.

We are lucky to live in Monton, in Salford. It’s very green place, the Bridgewater Canal is at the end of my street, Worsley Woods are a mile, or so away, and there’s a couple of golf courses (not that we play – but there are many footpaths).  There’s even a parkrun at the end of our street.

It has a lighthouse that’s 30 miles from the North Sea (it’s really a garden shed) – just another reason why Monton is a bit quirky.

Red and white lighthouse, with two canal barges by the Bridgewater Canal

19 May 2017 – the lighthouse by the Bridgewater Canal, at Monton, Salford -30 miles from the sea!

4. Lunch with my pal C

I had a great time catching up with my good pal, hearing all her news and discussing my news – it really lifted my spirits. She’s a good listener. I’ve known C for over 12 years, we shared an office at work. She’s an IT geek and I’m not 🙂 Our birthdays are a couple of days apart, we usually go out to celebrate our birthdays, involving cocktails. Annual trips to Manchester Christmas markets, days out to Dunham Massey. Shes part of the Cottonopolis WI posse too – and obviously, she and her husband will be at our wedding in September.

5. My Gardening magazines arrived

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I love our garden and gardening.  Ive been a bit lax about take part in In a Vase on Monday recently, but I’ve got my eye on some margarites for next week. Bloggers get involved from all around the world. Their beautiful flowers lift my mood when I’m feeling low. This link hosted by Cathy at:

This week my Gardeners’ World and Royal Horticultural Society Magazine arrived. I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking through deciding what we might plant, or if money and space were available. The Gardeners’  World is very accessible for beginner gardeners like me, the RHS one helps with plant pests, plants that might suit our shady, north facing soggy back garden – and Latin plant names too.

We’ve been to RHS Tatton Park garden show most years (we are going again this year), but I only got around to joining RHS last year.  I can’t tell you how excited I am that the 5th RHS garden Bridgewater will be a mile or so from our house up the canal (hence it’s name). It’s great for Salford in so many ways, not least employment and training. Watch this space, as it develops – work has started, it opens in 2019 – the plants need time to grow 🙂

What have you been grateful for this week?

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xxx

This weekly gratitude post covers:

  • Week 3 – Friday 12 May – Thursday 19 May 2017

Happiness – one week and five things that helped #2

It’s been glorious weather for most of the week here in Manchester, I’ve managed to get out in the garden every day, even if it was just to water things.  It’s been bone dry and both our waterbutts are empty.  I could, of course, show you a picture of plants in my garden, as that always makes me happy.  Likewise, My Chap lights up my life :-). But, this would be a bit of a cop out for a weekly gratitude post, so I think I’ll feature them on special occasions only.

I was inspired to write a weekly gratitude post by:

  • Suzy – www.fromthefringe.co.uk – she had a new nephew arrive this week how exciting 🙂 – her latest post on five things happiness is here

1. Choosing music for our wedding  

Four CDs and a note book with a green and gold dotty cover

12 May 2017 – choosing music for our digital playlist – plenty of indie classics 

We aren’t having a DJ at our wedding, instead we are going to have a digital playlist. We spent a happy Saturday night in listening to tunes old and new – and thank goodness for digital download sites.  We’re going to have lots of different playlists for different parts of the day. They’ll definitely going to reflect our somewhat ‘eclectic’ music tastes.  Lots of indie classics too.

2. Lost a stone 

Blue one stone slimming world award and book

12 May 2017 – slimming world one stone award and book

Given everything that’s been happening since Christmas, I’m really pleased to have managed to lose some weight, without going nuts on a silly diet.  I’m fortunate to go to supportive groups and have a great consultant who’s a really good cook. Ive got no number in my mind, just to fit into smaller jeans, help my arthritis pain and not look frumpy in my wedding dress. Onwards and downwards 🙂

3. Rock and Roll Bride magazine arrived 

Rock and roll bride magazines - blue haired and pink haired ladies

12 May 2017 – Rock and Roll Bride magazines

As I mentioned before ours is a very unconventional wedding, I was a bit lost looking for inspiration in the wedding magazines – all stick thin, 20-somethings with huge flouncy, sparkly, strapless, ivory flocks – and everything very expensive. None of it was what My Chap and I wanted for our day.  We had very clear ideas about what we wanted, and what we didn’t, but didn’t know how to find suppliers apart from trawling the Internet…

Then I spied a magazine front with a lady in a gold dress and her husband in tweed – both with plenty of tattoos – so I found Rock and Roll Bride www.rocknrollbride.com/ – a blog, and the ‘most’ supportive Facebook group – lovely, helpful and kind people.  Diversity at its best 🙂

So I would say Have the wedding you and your partner want 🙂 Although, it’s a lot easier when you’re paying for everything yourselves 🙂

4. A barbecue at a friend’s house 

Fire pit made from a washing machine

17 May 2017 – fire pit made from a washing machine drum

My Chap and I went to a lovely barbecue/house warming at friends we know from mountain biking and running. My Chap ran man v mountain with the chap last year and has mountain biked with them all over the Lake District, Pennines and Peak District. Ive eaten alot of cake and gone on plenty of walks in beautiful locations.  We caught up with lots of friends which was lovely.  The host M is a very handy, he made the firepit from an old washing machine drum.

5. New shoes – my first ever Irregular Choice 

Irregular Choice shoe box

17 May 2017 – my first ever pair of Irregular Choice shoes – for my wedding

I’ve bought my first ever pair of Irregular Choice shoes – no sneaky peeks as they’re for my wedding outfit. They are absolutely beautiful and so comfortable.  I don’t really do heels either so these are perfect. My Chap loves them and encouraged me to buy another pair for ‘going out’ 🙂 This could be an expensive passtime.

How has your week been? And what have you been grateful for?

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xxx

This post covers week Friday 5th May to Thursday 11th May – next week I’m hoping to be more prompt with posting – Thank you, as ever, to Suzy for hosting the link up – www.fromthefringe.co.uk