So the hot, sunny weather is over for the moment. It’s been raining on or off in Manchester all day, so I ran out into the garden to pick some flowers for the vase, you can still see the raindrops on the fuchsias. It’s a good thing it’s been raining, as the reservoirs, the farms and the gardens need it. The drawback for me is that my arthritis starts aching again; it’s been glorious having three months pain-free. Continue reading
‘Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share ourselves blessings, all the snow in Alaska won‘t make it ‘white” Bing Crosby (1903–1977)
I’ve been thinking about blessings alot this Christmas One of my favourite Christmas songs is the duet between the mighty very missed David and Bing – The Little Dummer Boy. Though, I don’t consider Christmas season has started until I hear Fairytale of New York.
We have music on most of the time when we are in the house. We’ve got modern Christmas songs at the moment, as we’ve been opening presents, reading cookbooks and drinking coffee. My Chap is reading Lisbon and I’m reading Nigel Slater’s Christmas Chronicles. I think I might be writing about food more on the blog next year – My Chap says he’s going to bake more too.
For my Vase today, I have snowberry from a neighbour’s hedge (I love living in #Monton), some curry plant leaves (as food is integral to our Christmas and life), the Son of Tom hardy fuchsia by the kitchen window (#fuchsias a long time love), bamboo which came in a pot from My Chap’s garden when he moved in with me, and some sticks (red) from the one of the few shrubs in our garden when I got moved in. I’d never noticed before how red the bark is, as it’s usually pruned before now. It’s a bit of a mishmash but that’s a bit like life, isn’t it? We become sum of all the parts.
Cathy over at Rambling in the Garden has bright red Cornus around a candle, on a bed of pine cones and rose hips. Very festive – do have a look at the ‘vases’ from around the world added by the #IAVOM team, they’re added at the bottom of Cathy’s posts every week. These flowers have lifted my soul in the dark times. Thank you everyone 🙂
Cathy will probably fall off her chair in shock, when I post my link as I’m on the right day! I’m usually at least a day late!
So Merry Christmas to all my readers, especially all the In A Vase on Monday gardening bloggers from all around the world – may your gardens’ grow well in the direction you want with few pests (especially slugs!) 🙂
… May your days, be merry and bright… White Christmas (composed by Irving Berlin in 1942)
So let’s have merry and bright days, not just at Christmas but everday. It’s the little things, that make the memories.
So, especially today, I am thinking of all those no longer with us; my darling, unforgettable brother Matt, my wonderful Dad Jay, the man mountain Steve, and the force of Nature, Uncle Fred. All loved cooking and often made turkey curry on Boxing Day :-. My Husband does that too 🙂 I’ve written about them before at Christmas, and will write about them again, I’m sure.
Bright memories – Forever in my heart xx xx xx
I loved ‘The Last Jedi’, it‘s complex, dark and funny. Leia, Luke and Rey showing the way (and yoda too).
‘May the force be with you’ – Star Wars I–VII (1977 –?)
The sun is shining, so my Husband and I are off for a walk, along the Bridgewater Canal, holding hands as usual 🙂 #365daysofselfcare
Today’s photo on Instagram for #blurtmerrycalmness. Day 25: CONNECT – thinking about all our friends and family from around the world who came to celebrate our wedding in September with us 🙂 It was a wonderful day 🙂
Merry Christmas everyone,
Love Bec xx xx xx
“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.
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
- 22 November 2017 (not on a Monday) – (In a Vase on Monday – Hello from the hardy fuchsias
- 30 Nov 2017 (not on a Monday)- In a Vase on Monday -(journaling) old favourites and new memories
- check out #fuchsia
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!
- In a Vase on Monday -A Cold, Snowy, Salford Spring? (4 March 2018)
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
- Calm – Calm 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.
- 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 I‘m hanging hope on today? prevailing 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.
My Stigu journal and It‘s 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
Love Bec xx xx xx
‘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.
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 🙂
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
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.
In search of my Mother’s garden, I found my own.
Alice Walker, writer (1942- )
Hardy fuchsias are tough – mine have been flowering well, despite very wet and windy weather in Manchester. By the time I got outside, in daylight, to pick the fuchsias the rain had pulverised the flowers on two of the three bushes I have planted around the garden. These are picked from the bush outside the kitchen window, as it’s more protected from the elements. I took the photo at 2pm with a flash, as it was so gloomy.
Fuchsias are the first flowers I remember in my Mum’s garden when I was very little – I thought they were like ballerinas. My Mum adores fuchsias, and has always had lots of hardy and tender ones all around the garden in pots. I grew up in Berkshire and our garden was heavy London clay so many of her favourite plants were in terracotta pots on the patio – I learnt to garden with her. My Mum is nearly 80 now (please don’t tell her I said that 😉 ) and still has many pots filled with fuchsia, around her large patio – and often brings another fuchsia for our collection. My Chap just smiles and finds another space for them.
I’ve cut cotoneaster too, which is next to the fuchsia by the front door, the bush is covered in red berries and the leaves are turning red – it looks glorious – I don’t know the variety as this was one of the few plants in the garden when I arrived. The cotoneaster is proping up the fuchsia stems just like it does in the garden. The dianthus was a gift and this is the very last flower – the plant never really got going this year as it’s been so wet. I bought the fuchsia in Morrisons of all places and it’s tom thumb (or a relative) – It grows to window hight which makes a lovely view when I’m washing up.
I decided to take a photo indoors too – I rarely do take indoor photos of anything as my house is quite dark (north facing) and small so there’s always something in the background.
I painted the jug at ‘Pottery Corner’ in Chorlton*, Manchester in March 2016, using glass paint. It’s just one of the many things I’ve done with my WI pals from Cottonopolis WI www.cottonopoliswi.com, in Ancoats in Manchester. I was really pleased with how well they came out, as I’m quite clumsy and not much of an artist. Do come along if you’re local or look out for a WI – it’s not what you think it will be like 🙂
Looking back – first fuchsias (and first terracotta pots)
I looked back on Facebook and found some photos of the first pots I had in my garden. My Mum came up to visit in May 2010, bringing some spare terracotta pots, and we spent a happy few hours planting them up. The number of terracotta pots has grown rather alot since then 🙂
In August 2010, I wrote (on facebook),
more pots in my garden – I had such fun planning these… could be turning into a closet gardener…
In fact, I’ve always been a gardener but I lived in flats in Manchester for over 20 years, so had no opportunity to do much. I’d garden when I was at home at my Mum and Dad’s house down South. A small garden was the number one priority when I was looking for a house to buy.
I wrote about my Mum and her love of gardening in one of my early posts in February 2015 and fuchsias get a mention too. Considering how many fuchsias I have around the garden, and how long they flower for, I’m really surprised how rarely they’ve appeared in posts or in Vases:
- Childhood garden memories – 25 Feb 2015
- Fuchsias still flowering – 25 November 2015
- In a Vase on Monday – A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (featuring a fuchsia called Star Wars) – 14 December 2015
I love fuchsias and have plenty of tender ones which live in the garage over the winter (as we don’t have space for a greenhouse). I really must remember to pick and photograph more fuchsias next year.
I’m dreaming of Spring and planting bulbs in pots in the porch where it’s dry and my Chap is distributing the pots around the garden. This week Cathy has a very zingy pink Chrysanthumum which is making me think of high summer. Do have a look at her post on Rambling in the Garden, where people from around the world post pictures of flowers from their gardens and localities. No matter how grey and wet the weather is, these beautiful photos and descriptions lift my mood.
Have a lovely week and I hope it’s dry where you are.
love Bec xx
* I paid full price for my painted vases and wasn’t asked to write a blog post about Pottery Corner.
An update on my #100happydays challenge – http://100happydays.com/ from the end of November 2015; work and preparations for Christmas completely caught up with me so I’m way behind with my summaries. Reflecting on these pictures, reminded me of the importance of family, friends, doing the things you love and most of all how much flowers and my garden can lift my mood. Have a good week everyone and come back soon to see the next instalment.
42/100 – Fuchsias still flowering in late November
I’ve mentioned a couple of times on my blog, and on twitter, about how weird the weather has been in the UK this Autumn. In our part of Salford in Lancashire, most of the flowers in the garden continued to flower well into December – fuchsias, dahlias (see below), geraniums, hydrangeas, etc. Other fuchsias in the garden flowered right into mid December and starred in a Vase on Monday.
It’s been very mild but wet especially in December – we had dreadful floods in elsewhere in Salford only a couple of miles from me. Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Scotland have all been flooded – it’s just dreadful as it wrecks lives, homes and businesses.
It’s an exciting week for a couple of reasons, I noticed that some of my hardy fuchsias, in pots in the garage, are still flowering. An obvious choice for my ‘In a Vase on Monday’. They made my day so are my #100happydays photo as well. I’m not sure which ones they are as they’re gifts from my Mum – one is relative of Tom Thumb. They really shouldn’t be flowering in December but it’s been very mild. The fuchsias that are planted out in the garden have all gone over now as it’s been very wet and windy.
‘Star Wars – Force Awakens’ opens in the UK on Thursday. If you’re a regular reader you might have noticed Yoda appears on my blog now and again. Continue reading
‘It often happens to children – and sometimes to gardeners – that they are given gifts of value of which they do not perceive until much later‘
I started gardening a long, long time ago – about 40 years ago I think. My Mum gardened when I was little; she still does – but only when it’s sunny. She gets my chap to do the heavy work now like digging or pruning. My Mum, Dad, little brother and me moved into a new build house in the early 1970s – I was four. The garden had 6 foot fences, a tiny patio and a lot of sticky, London clay and no grass at all. Continue reading