Tag Archives: #365daysofselfcare

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.

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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 (www.blurtitout.org) 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.

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…

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

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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.

In a Vase on Monday -(journaling) old favourites and new memories

Everything is going to work out just fine. Probably – Anonymous 

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’d notice I like quotes nearly as much as I like taking photos, especially of flowers. One of the reasons, I take photos is to keep a records of things, what’s flowered when, whether it’s early or late, beautiful gardens and views, as well as nature in its widest sense. It helps me remember good times, and also reminds me where things are – literally like the bulbs, but also so I don’t have to remember things in my overloaded brain!

This week’s In A Vase on Monday, has alot of old favourites which have a good memories, including the vase and something new – the sign 🙂

  • A standard size Cerise pink dianthus and some pink and white dwarf dianthus.
  • lilac violas – these were part of our wedding centre pieces.
  • Fuchsia – this is a hardy one which grows outside our kitchen window – it was in a Vase last week.
  • The vase is recycled purple glass bought at the Eden Centre in Cornwall. It has appeared before, usually, with sweetpeas.  Most recently was  July 2016 (blissful), when I wrote about our engagement 🙂
  • The sign was given to me by a great friend. It also appeared in our wedding centre pieces.  You ALL know how much I like being in the garden 🙂

Cathy, who hosts the meme over at Rambling in the Garden, has some stunning orange and white amaryllis this week. I’ve never grown Amaryllis.   The idea of IAVOM is to pick, and display, flowers and plants from your garden or locality each Monday.  The diversity of vases from across the world is staggering. It’s wonderful to see the Spring across the world in Australia and New Zealand. Just what I need on a freezing cold but sunny day in Manchester.

Small purple glass bud vase with lilac violas, pink and white dianthus and pink fuchsia

29 November 2017 – In a Vase on Monday purple vase with dwarf lilac violas, pink dianthus and hardy fuchsia

I take photographs of all sorts of other things too, receipts, recipes, books to read, useful websites, notes I’ve made, etc.  I find it easier to have visual records, and use journals and lists. I use Trello for  electronic lists (I’ll write about that another time) and I’ve got a simple electronic diary shared with My Chap.

Writing things down, taking photos and also help with my planning, wellbeing and making memories, as well as self-care. Ive tried out bullet journals but it doesn’t work for me; I think it’s the pressure to complete things everyday.

So I thought I write about my daily planning and what journals/books I use. They definitely helps me with #365daysofselfare

My daily planning tools – journals, diaries and lists 

  • CalmCalm the Mind, Change the world by Michael Acton Smith

This is a lovely book – it explains mindfulness and meditation in a very straightforward, simple way and gives you ideas for activities in Nature, with Children, Food, Friends, etc.  It has quotes and poems too. It’s a pretty book which is why I’m reluctant to write in it 😉

I’ve had it a couple of years, and I dip in and out, using it to inspire activities or self-care depending on what I’m doing. Often, I use the gratitude, highlights and what’s made me feel calm today? How and note these down in my It’s going to be OK journal. 

I don’t use the app associated with Calm; mainly because I’ve never got around to downloading it 😦 I’m using the Headspace app at the moment, guided meditations on YouTube, and in particular, guided body scans. These connect well with my yoga practise too.

29 November 2017 – Calm Journal, Weekly Planner and It’s Gonna be Okay journal 

  • Stigu Journal – a rest and zest handbook I’ve written about Stigu before (including last week) and I’m just starting to fill in my 2018 Stigu.  It’s a mixture of a diary and a journal/note book. Each month has a theme – Reflect is November’s theme. The left page is for notes and suggestions for activities.  This week’s suggestion resonated with me – a puddle reflecting only what’s above it, for example clouds,  and keeping no ‘memory’ of what’s passed. Stigu asks us to imagine what our minds would be like if we could practise this?
  • Weekly Planner – from Sainsburys!   It has days of the week, notes and to do list. This is where all the detailed, mind dump, boring lists like the shopping!, reminders for bills, clothes for yoga, etc are recorded.
  • It’s Gonna be Okay – An inner truth journal. As the photos show, this has a quote on one side, date, What Im hanging hope on todayprevailing outlook for the day.   I use this as reminder of how my days gone, a narrative, notes – what’s gone well what hasn’t. The odd rant too.  It’s very much my secret, private thoughts. It has a quote for every day and sometimes I just flick through it looking at the quotes.

29 November 2017 – It’s Gonna be OK journal inside layout 

My Stigu journal and Its going to be OK journal also helps me record my symptoms too.  I don’t really use paper symptom or habit trackers – pressure to fill in boxes (or not fill them in!).  They’re a prompt to monitor my arthritis symptoms in a health app. I was part of a citizen scientist project, in 2017, called Cloudy with a Chance of Pain, which monitored the impact of the weather on arthritis and pain symptoms. The full results should be out next year. 

So for my #365daysofselfcare today, I went for a walk around Monton. It was freezing, but sunny skies and I wandered around taking photos.  Im very grateful to live where I do, close to woods and a canal, yet only six miles to the centre of Manchester.

My #selfcare plans this week include walking more and more gardening – #OneHourOutside and #bekind too

Do you use journals or diaries? Do you use them for selfcare or recording gratitude / positive events? Let me know in the comments or any suggestions you have

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx xx xx 


Wordless Wednesday – slow cooked much anticipated coq au vin

22 November 2017 – Slow cooked coq au vin in a wedding present

Mid November is definitely time for Hygge and #selfcare – and doing something positive instead slaving over a hot stove. #365daysofselfcare 

In a Vase on Monday – Hello from the hardy fuchsias 

‘Hello, Hola, Ola, Bonjour, Hallo, Bongu, Ahoj, Namaste, G’day’ – International Hello Day 21 November was set up in 1973 to promote international peace after the Arab/Israeli conflict.

For this week’s vase, between heavy rain, I went looking for the hardy fuchsias in the garden, which have been pops of colour, amoung the greenery.  It’s been raining on and off for most of the week. Though we did have a light frost on Sunday, which was just typical as The Chap was up early for a local, muddy, trail half marathon. He let me off going to watch 😉 as my arthritis was giving me gip.  I’ve got all the gloves, hats, hand warmers, blankets and thick socks ready for the winter. A spot of Hygge and #selfcare needed.

Following on from last week’s post on International Kindness Day, I’m doing my best to be kind to people I know, those I don’t know and being kind to myself too. It can be really difficult to find the time and energy to do #selfcare but it’s worth finding the time even if it’s only a few minutes.

It’s International Hello Day (21 November) which stresses the value of communication in daily life, including saying hello to 10 people you don’t know. Its ideals are to encourage greater understanding and peace.

21 November 2017 – Three hardy fuchsias, purple wallflower and pink pelargonium

I found more than the hardy fuchsias flowering; the perennial wallflower is still going strong but there was a pink pelargonium flowering!  The pink vase often has sweetpeas in it 🙂

  • The three fuchsia are Son of Tom which grows about 3 foot high out side our kitchen window(small crimson flowers) Wharfdale (light pink and dark crimson centre) and is about 2 foot high, and the final one came from Morrisons – it might be Mrs Poppleton (crimson with a purple centre) it’s about 4 foot high at the moment. Fuchsias have appeared many times In a Vase on Monday – have a look at #fuchsia
  • The pink pelargonium in a pot, in a sheltered spot in our garden for about five years. It’s appeared in IAVOM many times too. #pelargonium 
  • The perennial wallflower also appears often, most recently last week #wallflower

Picking my vase is definitely part of my #365daysofselfcare, it definitely helps me both choosing, photographing and writing about flowers but also it’s looking to see what Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and the people all around the world who join in. This week Cathy has got a vase entirely of green foliage which has got me thinking.   In my head, I say hello to them every time I read a blog post, their pictures and words lift my soul. Maybe one day I’ll get to say hello to them face to face – I hope so. Their kind words have helped me though some tough times – so a Big Hello to everyone who’s reading my blog today 🙂

23 November 2017 – Stigu planners 2017 and 2018 with The Little Book of Kindness

So my plans for #365daysofselfcare and #bekind this week are:

  • #bekind especially to myself – and not to beat myself up about being late/disorganised.
  • Doing some dream mapping from my Stigu Planner 2018 – I don’t do New Year resolutions, I do them in December instead.
  • I love my Stigu planners, they’re in between a Planner and Mindfulness journal – I’ve had one for the last two years – you can follow them on Twitter too @SticktoStigu 
  • Finishing our thank you cards from our wedding. It was lovely catching up with people and I’m writing letters about what’s been happening and our plans for 2018 🙂 So many people have supported us though so much this year.
  • Reading The Little Book of Kindness by Bernadette Russell* She suggests acts of kindness for yourself, friends, the environment, community, those you love and what to do for free…
    • Shop less – use your money to DO stuff not have stuff – I was stuck by this but i’m hoping buying plants and bulbs doesn’t count 😉
    • #bekind #thelittlebookofkindness I follow Bernadette on Twitter @betterussell
    • I received the book as part of my Buddy Box for September from Blurt Foundation – www.blurtitout.org they describe them a hug in a box.  The boxes are great and really lift me; there’s often books on self-care and mental health in the box.
    • You can purchase them monthly, there’s the full version and a lite version.  www.blurtitout.org/buddybox/

And in case you’re wondering the languages at the start are – Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Maltese, Czech, Hindi and Australian ;-). I can speak varying amount of these languages – but definitely Hello, Goodbye, Please and Thank You 😉 I’ve visited all these wonderful countries and plan to visit again soon.

So who have you said ‘hello’ to today? And what about tomorrow? and how will you #bekind

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xxx xxx

*I paid full price for my Buddy Box from the Blurt Foundation and my Stigu Planner.  I haven’t been asked to blog about them or been paid for this content.

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!

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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