Category Archives: Life

In a Vase on Monday – Raspberry (jam) and custard

‘Happiness is like jam, you can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself’ Author: Unknown

The weather in Manchester has made a return to its usual Summer windy, soggy-ness but that’s a good thing as you almost hear the plants sucking up the water. Everything is looking a bit more chirpy than last week. I’m still pottering along gardening in the shade, sorting out the house and making changes – it’s been a good summer so far especially as my arthritis pain just about disappears when it’s very hot.

I’ve been pondering a few things this week – in the garden as out and about. We’ve got a few trips planned including a trip to Derbyshire at the weekend and a WI camping trip in September. It was jam making of all things, that inspired my In a Vase on Monday.


In a vase on Monday: yarrow and marguerites

For the flowers I picked are Achillea ‘Ritzy’ and ‘Heidi’. Their common name is yarrow. The pale yellow flowers are ‘Madeira marguerite’ – Argyranthemum. I couldn’t squeeze anymore stems into the bottle 😦 I promise I’ll do a bigger vase next week :-). Both types of flowers have appeared on the blog before:

The titles of these posts made me smile – I am most definitely keeping calm and carrying on – and a change of scene is the right thing for me.

The ‘vase’ is a Chambord miniature it’s a black raspberry liqueur which can be mixed with wine, bubbly or gin/vodka. The bottle makes it seems as if it’s been around for a hundred years or so. However, it was launched in 1982, although it’s based on a drink made in the Loire valley in 17th Century. My vase is on a pile of cookery books – jam making, Nigella and WI – seems a good plan to follow their example.

Do have a look at the Rambling in the Garden where Cathy hosts the meme. She has many zinnia, rudbeckia and nicotiana in her vase today. Looking around everyone’s vases from around the world zinnias are popular this year. Cathy says they are fairly easy to grow so I’ll give them a go next year.


In a Vase on Monday: yarrow and marguerietes

I NEED to make Jam soon – I am going on a Women’s Institute camping weekend in Cheshire in September – we stay in a Scout bunkhouse but you get the idea. We always have food competitions and one of them is jam. I’ve only ever made jam a couple of times and it’s been a winner both times (weird) as I’m not much of a pudding or cake maker – that’s My Chap’s department.

lavender in pinkster gin bottle with autumn fruit jam

In a Vase on Monday from December 2016- lavender in v small gin bottle with my prize-winning Autumn fruit jam

I’m probably going to use a similar recipe to this one:

Recipe – Autumn Fruit Jam

It’s a very simple recipe I use – 900g mixed soft fruit which included:

  • about 300g v tart blackberries
  • two big Braeburn apples – cored, peeled and sliced
  • about 200g blueberries – only about 20 from the garden, most were from a well known supermarket πŸ˜‰
  • about 250g frozen raspberries from the garden
  • handful v v tart red currants from my garden
  • 800g jam sugar (this has more pectin)

The Method is here in the original post.

Have you got a favourite jam recipe? Or a favourite flavour?

A walk along the Bridgewater Canal and Worsley Green

We went for one of our favourite walks on Sunday – it’s about three miles and takes an hour. I picked blackberries too.

Alphabet bridge, the warehouse – looking towards Monton

Here’s some pictures from along the canal, the Packhouse at Worsley Green. It was built in 1760 – the black and white Tudor style beams were added in the 1850s.

I’ve described this walk before –Β In a Vase on New Year’s Day – dogs, woods and walksΒ 

There were some ducks who made very good models too.

For the gardeners among my readers – The RHS Bridgewater Garden is about a quarter of a mile from Worsley Green. Work is coming along well and I’m hoping to go on a tour soon.Β  Β I am so excited that this wonderful garden is coming to Salford.

In the garden

We decided to get an arbour for the decking at the bottom of the garden and collected it this evening. I talked about the area on my latest blog post – Six on Saturday 11 August 2018

The petunias are looking particularly lovely at the moment too. I don’t think they’re much good in vases as they’d droop quickly 😦

We’ve also been sorting out My Chap’s sedum and succulent collection. I’ve been doing my photography prompts. The succulent planter makes an appearance in the photo above too.

Week 33 – from above

Like many things in life – it’s often a good idea to look at the bigger picture.


I am trying to spread more happiness for myself, My Chap, my pals and most of all my family. We are looking forward to a long weekend in Derbyshire this weekend. We are planning to go to Hardwick Hall We will be going to Chatsworth House, another time as it’s a full day is needed there.

What do you have planned for the weekend? Do you have any recommendations for places to visit around Chesterfield, in Derbyshire?

Any favourite jam recipes or fruit combinations?

Let me know in the comments

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx xx


On an adventure to BlogOn X

I’m planning on writing more this year, getting a shorter URL and I’ve got plenty of ideas for blog topics. More photos of flowers too. This weekend I’m off to a blogging conference run by the team at BlogOn (https// – it’s only down the road at Hotel Football, in Old Trafford, in Manchester – about three miles from my house. I’d seen bloggers taking about how well run, and useful, the conferences are, so I signed up. I wanted to learn some new skills, update my knowledge, especially about Pinterest, and maybe talk about collaborations. I’m very much looking forward to meeting some other bloggers face to face, that I know via Twitter and other social media. It’s always good to spend time with people who do a similar role to you, and have some fun.

If you’re coming to the conference come and say hello πŸ™‚ I’m hoping I’m not a fish out of water.

We’ve been asked to write a bit about ourselves and link up… So here goes…

  • Share a recent photo of yourself

I’m Bec, I live in Monton in Eccles, which is in Salford in Lancashire. Monton is on the West of Greater Manchester, about six miles from the city centre; it’s leafy round here, with Worsley Woods, a couple of golf courses and the Bridgewater Canal is at the end of our street – we’ve got a good cafes, bars and restaurants around here and a growing number of street art bees.

I blog about flowers, gardening, wellbeing and our adventures out and about, usually in the Great Outdoors . I’m a Southerner originally, born in Berkshire. I’ve lived here for 20 years, visiting since 1989, so I’ve seen lots of changes around Manchester.

I’m definitely in my spiritual home among the friendly Northerners. Also, I know the correct words to use to order a bread role in any part of Greater Manchester. In Eccles its a barm πŸ˜‰ I eat my chips with gravy, but never mushy peas (Devil’s work).

This is the first picture of me I’ve ever put on the blog. I feel like I should tell you I’m wearing a White Stuff dress, with Razzle Dazzle Irregular Choice shoes – Outfit of the Day and all that πŸ˜‰ The photo was taken just before I headed out to my Hen Do afternoon tea last September.

  • What’s your favourite pizza topping?

Olives, anchovies, prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella on a super thin crust.

  • You can have dinner with any three guests dead or alive- who do you choose and why?

I could easily pick three gardeners, three historians, three chefs, three novelists, three adventures, three musicians, three scientists, the list could go on. But, I’ll confine myself to a group who’d have so much to discuss and share – Nigel Slater, Mary Beard and Charles Darwin.

  • Up to now what would you consider being your biggest life achievement?

I’ve raised alot of money for charities to research Motor Neurone Disease (because My Chap’s brother died aged 49 in 2017 from MND) and cancer (because lung cancer took my Dad 18 years ago when he was 70). In my day job, I’ve helped academics win millions in funding for research with patients in the NHS – just about any topic or disease you can think of. I’m proud I help people make a difference – and make the world a better place.

  • If you woke up tomorrow as a character from any Disney film or book who would you be and why?

I watched most of the classic Disney Films as a kid in the 1970s, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White, Lady and the Tramp, etc. My favourite is Jungle Book – I love the songs. I’ve never seen Bambi though.

However, since Disney bought the Star Wars franchise, I’m taking Leia at any age, as my character…

I was 11 in 1977 when Star Wars came out and I’d never seen a woman as the lead, a hero, in charge – it affected me deeply. The film was massive in the playground; I think I saw it three or four times that year. I was, and still am, a massive Star Wars and sci-fi geek. Wish I’d kept the light sabre though. In the recent films Leia, as a General, is only a decade or so older than me, so I hope I have her compassion, determination and wit.

Yoda and Pansies in the Spring Sunshine

    I have a special love for Yoda; he has appeared so many times in the blog he has his own Tag.

    • What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

    Stretch! Wiggle my toes and fingers. I have osteoarthritis in my fingers, toes and in my back, so I often wake up very stiff.

    • If you won the lottery what would be the very first thing you would buy and why?

    A round the world airline ticket for My Chap and I, to visit friends and family, watch some tennis, go to some gigs and walk on beaches. Then we’d come back to Manchester, pay off and do up our house and garden. We’d stay here, as we love Manchester, but we’d also love a house by the sea.

    • What is your favourite quote from a movie?

    ‘Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future’. Yoda

    • If you were a superhero what would your super power be?

    Time travel – not only because I love history – but it would mean I could visit people in a instant.

    • What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

    When I was a teenager, My Dad used to talk about ‘Things a Girl Should Know’, most were practical like how to open champagne, how to shake hands firmly, tie bow ties properly, change a tyre etc. He taught me to cook too, but that’s a whole other story.
    He told me to be true to myself, be kind, help people, when you can and say No to things you really don’t want to do.

    And to trust your gut.

    • Which emoji do you use the most?

    I’m absolutely bobbins at doing emojis, so I can only use three (typing the characters too) – πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰ 😦

    • If you could go back in time and tell yourself anything what would it be?

    My Granny Dolly who was a country woman, a working class suffragette, dog breader, judge at Cruft and a terrible cook, said to use moisturiser every day. Her skin was amazing, even in her 80s, and I’m afraid I didnt take this advice. I realised the error when I turned 40 and have mostly remembered the moisturiser since then.

    • What do you currently have set as the wallpaper on your phone?

    This is the bay at Flinders, on the Mornington Peninsula, just south of Melbourne. My Australian family live here some of the time. Flinders is a village, with a General Store, one pub and a few coffee shops – it’s a peaceful, sleepy and relaxed place. I love it there.

    • If you could do anything in the world as a legitimate job what would you do?

    Be a guide around one of the great gardens, photographing people, places and plants – sharing and tweeting too.

    • Where is your favourite place in the world?

    I don’t have one favourite place – I guess mine is more about what places make me feel – a state of mind. Contentment, peace, relaxed but it would definitely have beautiful flowers.

    And now to see if I can add the link button without a laptop. It broke on Monday so I’m using the tablet at the moment (TMI probably). Oops I chopped my head of on the link box.

    Do have a look at the BlogOn X – linky for more blog and bloggers πŸ™‚ I’ve found some new ones to follow.

    Any thing I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.

    But, in the meantime, remember Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.

    Carpe Diem

    Love Bec xx

    Wordless Wednesday: DAY 25 WATER #blurtselfcareathon

    25 April 2018 – DAY 25 WATER #blurtselfcareathon Flinders, Mornington Peninsula, Australia

    I’m happiest by the water whether it’s rivers, lakes, the sea. All my Australian family love the sea too.

    This is Flinders, a village on the Bass Straight side of the Mornington Peninsula where they live some of the time. It’s peaceful and beautiful at Flinders. #rechargethebatteries.

    We are so excited to see our Aussie family in Melbourne next month.

    Wordless Wednesday – DAY 18 SOCIAL #blurtselfcareathon

    18 April 2018 – DAY 18 SOCIAL #blurtselfcareathon – My Australian family and friends, pals from Stirling University, Manchester work crew, RunMND posse, the Women’s Institute ladies and finally, but certainly not least my Eccles pals.

    I’m a sociable and friendly person – I’m so fortunate to have so many friends and family who’ve supported me in tough times and good. And of course, My Chap – he makes me a better person.

    Wordless Wednesday – DAY 11 ENCOURAGE #blurtselfcareathon

    11 April 2018 – DAY 11: ENCOURAGE #blurtselfcareathon Beth and My Chap raising awareness at Brighton Marathon April 2018

    My Chap, and I, do as much as we can to raise awareness and funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Here he is after pushing Beth (who lost her mum to MND), round Brighton Marathon. Beth walked over the finish line and they were both interviewed on the big screen.

    We’re all part of a group (700+) called @RunMND on Twitter and Facebook. We do all we can support and encourage each other, raising money and awareness about Motor Neurone Disease.

    Come and find us and get involved…


    Wordless Wednesday – DAY 4 SNUGGLE #blurtselfcareathon

    4 April 2018 DAY 4: SNUGGLE #blurtselfcareathon on Instagram

    There’s nothing I like more than snuggling under a blanket, eating cake and doing some crafting. It’s been hectic recently, so I need to make more time for this. #SelfcareMatters

    Follow @theblurtfoundation on Instagram

    And my photos and ideas (@Montonbec56) for the prompt #BlurtSelfCareathon for April 2018.