Category Archives: Life

Wordless Wednesday – life isn’t a dress rehearsal – wear the shoes


14 March 2018 – Wordless Wednesday – Irregular choice mini mod shoes

Life isn’t a dress rehearsal – wear the shoes, eat the cake, have an adventure – be Irregular – Carpe Diem.


Wordless Wednesday – wear the shoes – life isn’t a dress rehearsal 

Pink mid heel sparkly floral shoes

17 January 2018 – wear the razzle dazzles – be irregular

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.

In a Vase on Monday: Violet (not Blue) Monday in Manchester 

‘Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk 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 obviously :-).

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 evening of the month – so it will be #brewtuesday not #brewmonday, but you get the idea.   I

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.

Instagram #savouringJanuary2018 

DAY 14: 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….

15 January 2018 – Our shoes from our wedding day and on our walk around Monton

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.

15 January 2018 – Bodnant Gardens, Colwyn Bay – beauty of flowers in small and grand places

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…..

Follow me on Twitter: @becinmonton    Instagram: @becmonton56


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. 

Carpe Diem,

Love Bec xx xx xx

In A Vase on Monday – old rose, new year plans…CompassYear

‘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:

I’ve made a note to cut more flowers from the rose this year 🙂

8 January 2018 – Rose with rosehips in a Purple glass bud glass – and CompassYear 2017-2018

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.

8 January 2018 – Rose (January 2018) and Bud and Rose (June 2016)

YearCompass –

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.

2017the 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 

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.

Onwards… #365daysofselfcare

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  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 

Instagram #savouringJanuary2018

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?

Follow on Instagram – @becmonton56 @Gabrielletreanor

8 January 2018 – lamb stew – Nourish day 8 #savouringJanuary2018

I’m feeling positive for 2018 – I think my intentions are feasible 😉 I’ll report back how I get on,

She persisted… 

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx xx xx

In a Vase on Monday – good enough when not ‘in the pink’ 

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.


12 December 2017 – In a Vase on Monday – rosemary, pelargonium and lavender in the Salford gloom

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 ( for December #blurtmerrycalmnessAs 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.

You can follow my Instagram @Becmonton56 and contributions from other people to #blurtmerrycalmnessyou can get involved 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.


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…

12 December 2017 – Press pause, You are enough and Believe in yourself cards – produced by  Blurt Foundation

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

The Self-Care Project: How to let go of frazzle and make time for you

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 🙂

Carpe Diem

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

In a Vase in Monday – winter childhood memories (and fuchsia too)

“Hope”  Leia Organa in Rouge One (2016)

I’ve been thinking about Winter alot this week, it was the metrological start of Winter on last Friday, 1st December.   It’s been cold, but sunny in Manchester, we’ve had a couple of nights of frost so that’s finished off the final flowers – apart from the perennial wallflowers and some violas. Christmas is on everyone’s mind – trees and decorations going up, toy adverts everywhere.   I’m feeling fairly ambivalent about Christmas this year – despite looking forward to spending time with My Chap.  We had a wonderful wedding day, and we’re incredibly happy together. But this has been a truly dreadful year – we each lost a brother this year. Both incredibly loved and missed – I can’t express in words how devastated I am about my wonderful brother Matt – I think about him every day and I always will.

However, I know that we have to carry on with life. Christmas coming has got me thinking of childhood memories too. I did something I haven’t done for decades and bought an Advent Calendar.

4 December 2017 – climbing fuchsia ‘lady in black’ and Winter moons illustration with

But first, in this week’s In A Vase on Monday, I’ve picked Lady in Black which is a bit of an unusual fuchsia – it’s a hardy, climbing fuchsia. My mum, who loves fuchsias, bought it for me a couple of years ago.  it’s still getting established and is only about two foot high and not really filled out yet. It lives at the end of our garden on our decking, so it’s the very last fuchsia still flowering.  There were more flowers when I picked them but they fell off as I walked up the garden – typical.  I’m only a day late for this link up which makes a change 🙂

The fuchsia is displayed in a bud vase which has appeared in IAVOM regularly, as have fuchsias – including for the last two weeks

The print came from a magazine – it’s a picture of a Wolf along with the three moons associated with winter – Cold moon (December), Wolf moon (January) and Snow Moon (February). Most of these names originate from Native American or Celtic descriptions. There are three other prints, so I’m sure they’ll be appearing on the blog another time too.
The Spring Print has now appeared with a beautiful drawing of a butterfly, with (Worm Moon, Pink Moon and Flower Moon.  It had snowed here!

4 December 2017 – Our bistro table on the decking Summer 2015 (with yoda too)

I’ve not got a picture of the decking in winter, but here’s a photo from a few years ago – it’s my sanctuary.  We spend alot of time, relaxing and thinking especially as it gets the last of the evening sun.  #dreamingofsummer.   You’ll also notice yoda peeking out from the fuchsias. He makes me smile every time I see him. He’s appeared on the blog many times too. check out #yoda

Advent Calendar 

It’s no ordinary Advent calendar it’s a Lego Star Wars one. I’ve thought about buying one for a couple of years but this year thought I’d buy it and think of all the happy times with Matt. We had a very large lego collection and spent hours playing with it.

Star Wars came out when I was 11 and my brother a year younger. We went to see it with our amazing Uncle Fred, who loved the theatre and films. We saw it in Leicester Square in the West End of London and I remember the crawler opening very clearly

‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…’ Star Wars – A New Hope (1976)

and ducking as the Imperial battle cruise passed over. We loved it, and watched the film three or four times that summer. And countless times since then.  We had lightsabers toys at Christmas – wish we’d kept them but I think they were in a right state. We were hooked on Star Wars and watched the subsequent films many, many times. I’ve written about Star Wars on the  blog too – it’s definitely a shared experience for people my age watching all three films at the cinema, waiting for the next instalment, and like many I wasn’t particularly impressed with all aspects of the prequals.

4 December 2017 – The Ghost, The Phantom and Sabine Lego Advent Calendar 2017

My Chap wasn’t much of a fan, as he’d only seen Phantom Menace (1999) and all he could remember was the jar jar binks character (not impressed). But he’s taken me to see Force Awakens (2015) and Rouge One (2016) and enjoyed them very much, so I think he’s slowly getting hooked. Only a minor eye roll when I bought home the calendar.  But, I’m looking forward to opening the doors, building the toys and thinking of my brother.  My favourite characters are Leia and yoda – there’s a lot of wise thinking in Star Wars including advice for managers 😉.

I really must read The Princess Diaries by Carrie Fisher 🙂 although I’m so nackered I think I might need to get an audio book instead.  I read Postcards from the Edge many years ago and loved it. She’s a great loss to the world  and also taken far too young.

I’m so excited about The Last Jedi – fortunately I know quite a few geeky Star Wars fans so will have people to talk to about it with, but it won’t be the same not taking to my brother about it.

My Chap and I are both hoping that things will improve in 2018 – I’m doing my best with exercise, eating well, mindfulness, yoga but most of all being kind to myself and self-care too.  But time heals and helps – and hope helps too.

#365daysofselfcare this week involved:

  • Managing #anhouroutside everyday – I went for walks around the neighbourhood and at work, and gardening. One day it rained so persistently I was potting up in the porch.
  • Finding some new mindfulness articles and guided meditations about managing pain 🙂
  • Ordering the Christmas food so I don’t need to stress, running round to get it at the last minute. My Chap works ridiculously long hours in the run up to Christmas so can’t do much to help.
  • Getting out the Star Wars dvds 🙂
  • Booking a Christmas wreath making course. Cathy who hosts in a Vase on Monday over at Rambling in the Garden has her door wreath as her ‘Vase’. Do have a look 🙂

Are you a star wars fan or are you looking forward to another film over the Christmas Holidays? 

There’s a fuchsia called star wars but it’s stopped flowering in my garden now… But it will be back – it’s always here like The Force

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx xx xx

P.S. I bought My Chap a Thornton’s chocolate Advent Calendar so he wasn’t left out 😉 I bought both items full price and wasn’t asked to write about them.