Monthly Archives: November 2015

In a vase on Monday – dahlias still here! #100happydays

The weather in Manchester this Autumn has been very odd indeed.  It’s been really very mild (12-15C)  and not alot of rain. I moved these dahalias in their into my porch at the beginning of November and they shouldn’t be flowering still.  So they’re also my #100happydays photo for today.

I picked them on Saturday for my In a Vase on Monday  (and photographed them while the sun was out!) before Storm Clodagh came over.  They are the very last of the flowers in the pot so are a little raggedy but I loved the colour combination. The colours of late summer – beautiful :-).  I don’t know what their names are because my tags have blown away 😦 Continue reading


#100happydays challenge 29-34 Deeds not words, inspiring women, love

‘Deeds not Words’

Motto of Women’s Social and Political Union founded by Emmeline Pankhurst and five women 10th October 1903

An update on my  #100happydays challenge – from  November 2015

29/100 Cottonopolis WI meeting – all about Suffragettes 

It was our monthly meeting for Cottonopolis WI – we eat cake, chat and have a lot of fun.  We only sing Jerusalem once a year at our AGM – did you know it’s was a suffragette anthem too?

This month’s talk was given by Sibby (@MCRTourGuide) all about the history of votes for women.  It was a fascinating talk and I learnt a lot more about the complex issues involved. We also discussed the accuracy  (or not) of the film Suffragette (2015).   A couple of weeks ago, I went to watch the film with 90 other Greater Manchester WI members – it was a great evening.

Do you know which country in the world introduced universal suffrage in 1893? 

Continue reading

#100happydays challenge 21-28 friends, food, drink, flowers and yoda too

Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief – Cicero

Here’s an update on the #100happydays challenge (from late October 2015) – you can see my latest photos on my twitter account (@becinmonton).

As usual, I seem to been busy but one or two things stand out for me; fun with friends, my love of sci-fi and also once again, how important my garden is to me.   I’m so fortunate that I’ve got lots of friends who I’ve met via work, studying and outdoor adventures.

I’ve made lots of new friends too, since I joined the Women’s Institute a few years ago.   I’m a proud member of Cottonopolis WI in Ancoats, Manchester. I guarantee the WI isn’t what you think it is and it’s not about Jam, Jerusalem or calendars either.

star wars cookie cutters, lunch at Kro, Batch Gin, suffragette film

21/100 star wars cookie cutters, 22/100 lunch at Kro, 23/100 Batch Gin, 24/100 suffragette film

21/100 A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

These are my favourite cookie cutters; my friend L bought them for me a few years ago; I tend to make ginger biscuits with them. We are both big Stars Wars fans. I was 10 in 1977 when the first film opened. I think we went to see it about six times that year, played with pretend light sabers in the playground. I think there were toys the following Christmas and I wish I’d kept the toys my Uncle gave me.  I think Princess Leia being a kick ass warrior helped my view of the world too. I’ve loved the films ever since (apart from Jar Jar Binks).  I am VERY excited for ‘Force Awakens’.

I had a good chat on the phone with my friend L who I’ve known for nearly 20 years. Continue reading

#100happydays challenge 14-20 food, music, Victoria baths

An update on my  #100happydays challenge – from last month. In mid October, I went back to my normal life after a lovely week in Lisbon – and it was eclectic.  Some gardening, music, good food with friends and visiting the Victoria Baths in Fallowfield, Manchester.

birthday meal in Smiths (14/100), fushias in my garden (15/100), editors tickets (16/100), lunch with my pal E (17/100) #100happydays

birthday meal in Smiths (14/100), fushias in my garden (15/100), editors tickets (16/100), lunch with my pal E (17/100) #100happydays

14/100 – Our birthday meal in Smiths, Eccles   My birthday and my chap’s birthday are a week apark – no pressure then when it comes to presents and celebrating 🙂  We went for a lovely meal at Smith’s in Eccles; it’s a bistro style restaurant with an excellent, ever changing seasonal menu.  It’s an Eccles institution and I’ve been going for at least 18 years.   It was a great meal as usual, the bubbly was just lovely.  I had some fish – what a surprise 😉

15/100 – fuchsias in the garden – mid October 2015 The fuchsias are STILL flowering in my garden (and it’s mid November when I write this post) both the tender and hardy ones.  We are having very odd weather this Autumn, it’s been 12/16 degrees most days/most of October and November so lots of the summer bedding plants are still flowering away. I love fuchsias – When I was a child they always reminded me of ballerinas.  My mother always had a lot of fuchsias on her patio both hardy and tender.  She’s still got plenty and she’s bought us quite a few over the six years I’ve lived in my house.  I’ve got a huge relative of ‘tom thumb’ outside my kitchen window which reminds me of the lanes of West Ireland which have miles of tall fuchsia bushes.  I’m surprised fuchsias aren’t in ‘My in a vase on Monday’ more often – I think it might be because I’ve not got the right vases. There is time yet this year though 🙂 Continue reading

#100happydays challenge 6-13 – Lovely Lisbon

An update on my  #100happydays challenge – from last month. It’s all about our holiday to Lisbon.
Lisbon is a wonderful city with a very long history, the sea, great views and suburb food; There’s loads to do including visiting art galleries. museums and castles. It’s easy to get around with trams and metros which is handy as it has ALOT of hills but the view are amazing. There are many miradors (viewpoints) around the city. There were many beautiful parks; huge hibiscus and lemon trees in front gardens too.  I know we will visit again.

lisbon guide (6/100), fish stew (7/100), tram (8/100), wine at the castle (9/100) #100happydays

Lisbon guide (6/100), fish stew (7/100), tram (8/100), wine at the castle (9/100) #100happydays

6/100 – Off to Lisbon  

We wanted to visit a European city with a direct flight from Manchester with a lot of history, culture and good food.   A bonus – if it was by the sea and some sunshine – given it was October. We’d never been to Lisbon so that fitted the bill 🙂

We found a great apartment in a 1930s modernist building, via Housetrip ( near the University.  It was wonderful to live among the locals, use the local shops and practise our Portuguese 🙂 and there was a metro stop 5 mins away.  The weather was grim the first day, very wet because there was an Atlantic storm going over.  It was overcast a lot of the week but warm.  The locals kept apologising for the weather which made us smile – warmer and drier than Manchester for sure.

7/100 – fish stew

Portuguese food is just lovely – alot of fish, Mediterranean  and spices. Portugal was a huge sea power in 15/16th Centuries and owned most of South America, Indonesia and Macau too.  It has a big fishing industry and your tinned sardines have almost certainly come via Portugal.  There was a sardine shop in Lisbon – just tinned sardines 🙂
My chap ate a pastel-de-nata (Portuguese custard tart) every day – I had fish every day.  I’ve got a long list of fish species in Portuguese now.  It’s always an adventure ordering fish abroad, as you’re not always sure what will arrive on the plate.
And I haven’t even mentioned Port 🙂

8/100 – tram from Belém to Lisbon

Belém was the gateway to Lisbon and protected the entrance of the River Tagus.  It is well worth a visit especially as it’s the home of the The Torre de Belém, the symbol of Lisbon (and a world heritage site). This is a square tower which would have been accessed by boat; about 50 feet from the shoreline.  It was built in 1514 in the middle of the river.  Until the Lisbon earthquake in 1755 changed the course of the river, thousands died and many of the magnificent buildings were destroyed.

The caravels (ships) left from Belém in the 16th century to discover the West Indies, South America and the Far East.  In 1960 ,a 50 metre monument, in the shape of a carvel, was built to celebrate 500 years since the death of King Henry the Navigator.  He’s at the front facing the sea, with huge stylised statues of famous Portuguese including Vasco de Gama.  It has stunning views from the top (and a lift).

Elsewhere in Belém, there’s the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (the monestery is a world heritage site) and many art galleries.   It’s also the home of Pastéis de Belem which is where the pastel de nata was invented in the 1830s.

9/100 – Wine with a view – Castle de Sao Jorge, Lisbon

A fascinating place to visit, originally a moorish castle in the 1100s (though the Romans were there first, as you’d expect). It has been in continuous habitation since then, the Portuguese Royal family lived there in 18/19th century.  It’s a huge site, with extensive ramparts and the views from the castle are stunning – I took a day and night shot. We spent a very happy hour or so drinking Portuguese wine on the ramparts over looking the city – it didn’t close until 9pm.  It’s a real shame that the we don’t do the same here.

Castle de Pena (10/100), don't panic (11/100), funicular railway (12/100), bed rest (13/100)

Castle de Pena (10/100), don’t panic (11/100), funicular railway (12/100), bed rest (13/100) #100happydays

10/100 Palace de Pena, Sintra

There should be two ‪#‎100happydays photos because we visited two wonderful castles in Sintra – the national palace and palace de pena – I chose pena because it reminded me of castle neuwanstein which we visited in January when my brother and family were over from Australia.    This photograph was taken as the sun was setting, it was truly magical.  We were the last people to leave, the Portuguese bus drivers waited for us too. It’s an easy trip on the train from Lisbon and there’s a circular bus to get to all the sites – don’t walk as it’s very, very hilly.

Sintra is a world heritage site and also has a Moorish caste on the top of the hill and many beautiful gardens.  We only scratched the surface of what’s there.  We could probably spend a week looking around.  We’ll be back there too.

11/100 – Great live music

Pottered around the parks of Lisbon but the best thing was a brilliant covers band in Baixo Alto. Their tip box made me laugh – yes they were hitchhikers fans. We listened to some fado too but it was very melancholy, which was a bit much for me in my current mood.

12/100 – Bica funicular railway (Ascensor)

The Bica funicular climbs from Rua da Bica for 245 metres from the Rua S. Paulo, near Santos, to the Calhariz district (Rua do Loreto). We went down the hill in a beautiful wooden panelled carriage which fits about 25 people.  It was built in 1892 and is a national monument.

The lower station of this funicular is almost hidden behind a façade on the Rua de S. Paulo with the inscription ‘Ascensor da Bica’. My chap and I walked past the bottom station twice, because it was covered in plastic sheeting 🙂 There are three funicular railways, and we went on all of them, and two elevators.

Trips on elevators, funicular railways and more views across the city – with churches, the sea, castles great food and a mojitos too.

Lisbon is just an amazing place and it’s people are wonderful too.

13/100 – Bed Rest 

The 430am start to get the plane did me in so it was an early night. It was lovely to be home too.


#100happydays challenge 

You can follow my photos for #100happydays challenge on twitter feed everyday (@becinmonton)


#100happydays challenge is very simple:

  • Can you be happy for 100 days in a row?  
  • Every day submit a picture of what made you happy!
  • It can be about anything or anyone.  
  • It’s a way of getting in touch with the moment you’re in
  • People can submit photos privately too.

Anyone around the world can get involved in #100happyday or just have a look for the hashtag or on facebook too.                                                                  

What has made you happy today?

Carpe Diem  or Aproveite o Dia

love Bec xx