Tag Archives: gin

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

‘Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk https://www.samaritans.org/missing 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 (www.samaritans.org/)- 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: @becinmonton

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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

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lavender in pinkster gin bottle with autumn fruit jam

In a Vase on Monday (not) – luscious lavender and jam at Christmas 

As Rosemary is to the Spirit, so Lavender is to the Soul. Anonymous

Merry Christmas everyone – I’m late to the party as usual for in A Vase on Monday; I’ve been wiped out with flu all week confined to bed, which messed our Christmas plans a bit.

It feels a bit odd writing about lavender at this time of year – it has been a very odd year in many ways – and I don’t just mean the weird weather.  I’ve been back at work over a year, in a new role too, but it takes just about all my energy to do my job and run the basics of life – hence my rather intermittent blogging.  Thank goodness for my Chap who is truly wonderful and takes care of me every day.

Lavender is one of my favourite plants – I adore its scent as well as the flowers.  I have about 15 plants around my sunny, front garden – varieties include Munstead, Hidcote, Vera (White) – They thrive in the fairly rubbly soil.  I’ve got some other lavender in the back garden in pots on the deck – under the conifers that overhang from my neighbour’s garden.  So as you can imagine I was thrilled to find some still flowering in  December – despite the very wet and windy weather we’ve had in Manchester.  I picked these on 23 December 2016.

lavender in pinkster gin bottle with autumn fruit jam

In a Vase on Monday – lavender in v small gin bottle with my prize winning Autumn fruit jam

I’ve written about lavender quite a few times on the blog, but I think this is the first time the flowers have appeared in a vase alone.

As usual, I am joining in with Cathy from Rambling in the Garden who hosts this link up – she has a simple, beautiful, vase of snowberries and rosehips – it looks very wintry and festive.  I do love looking at flowers, plants and vases from around the world – it definitely brightens by days – and my mission for next year is to pick, photo and post more often about the plants from my garden – and be more prompt on Mondays even though Cathy says it doesn’t matter if I’m late.

Women’s Institute prize winning jam – yes really
My jam won ‘tastiest jam’ at our  Women’s Institute weekend away in September.  I am staggered still, as it’s only my second attempt at jam and there was ALOT of competition. We had a wonderful time in the Cheshire countryside at a Scout camp at our Big Weekender – do have a look at the photos :-). I was very chuffed to win this badge 🙂

apple blackberry raseberry jam

Autumn fruit jam (blackberry, apple, raspberry, blueberry, red currant) – a prize winning jam


Recipe – Autumn Fruit Jam

I used 900g mixed soft fruit which included:

  • about 300g v tart blackberries from garden
  • two big Braeburn apples – cored, peeled and sliced
  • about 200g blueberries – only about 20 from garden, most were from a well known supermarket 😉
  • about 250g frozen raspberries from the garden
  • handful v v tart red currants from my garden

and 800g  jam sugar (this has more pectin)

Method

  • I put blackberries and apple in first in my maslin pan, added the raspberries and blueberries and topped up with redcurrants.
  • I added the sugar slowly and ensured it melted first, then added a bit more.
  • I simmered and stirred, everything slowly stunned to mush.
  • Keep going til you get a ‘rolling boil’ – the liquid went darker and the bubbles look thicker.
  • To check the jam will set I used the frozen plate method
  • put plate in the freezer – take plate out when ‘rolling boil’ – splodge a blob of jam on the plate – push it to see if jam wrinkles then it’s ready
  • I’ve also got a jam thermometer but i prefer the plate method.
  • My chap ladled the jam into the jars – jam funnel much easier.
  • Jars and lids were washed and ‘cooked’ in oven to sterilise them.
  • pour the jam in when still warm 🙂
  • I’ve made chutney for years but jam is MUCH quicker to do.
lavender in a very small Pinkster gin bottle

lavender in a very small Pinkster gin bottle

lavender in a small pinkster gin bottle

lavender in a small pinkster gin bottle 

If you’re wondering why I picked a Pinkster gin bottle – it’s because it’s flavoured with raspberries 🙂 and these bottles are from gin explorer boxes that come monthly for my Chap from me. It’s a really great way to try out new gins.

The Christmas gin fairy might just have brought a full size bottle too – shame I’m still feeling far too rough to drink anything apart from peppermint tea.  But it’s not all been bad, I’ve been checking out wedding photographers. I’m on the mend slowly, but that’s been the recurring theme of 2016.

I hope you’ve all have a lovely, relaxing Christmas break and that 2017 is a really good year for you.

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx

 

*I wasn’t asked to write about ‘gin explorer’ and I pay full subscription price for each box.