Tag Archives: inavaseonmonday

In a Vase on Monday: be present with yoga

“Calming the mind is yoga. Not just standing on the head.” Swami Satchidananda

This week, despite the heat in Manchester, I’ve done quite a bit of gardening in the evenings, when most of our North facing garden is in the shade.  I notice my mood is better if I’ve spent time outdoors, especially pottering around and watering the plants.  I’ve rationalised my plants into bigger pots, pushed together so that I can water everything I need to and bigger pots retain the moisture.  It’s also the first summer I’ve watered shrubs in the garden. It takes me about half an hour to water the pots (with a watering can and water from the water butts).  We have had so little rain here – and the temperatures have been in the high 20s for a couple of months.  Also, I’ve put succulents, sedums and drought tolerant plants in my hanging baskets.  Gardening helps me be mindful – as does yoga.

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7 August 2018 – posy of sweetpeas, lavender and dianthus – with The Book of You and a Be present yoga print

How yoga helps my mind, body and spirit

I’ve been practising yoga, on and off, for about 12 years, starting completely by accident.  A friend of mine had a pal who was learning to be an Iyengar yoga teacher so needed people to practise with.  It was right next to work, straight after work so it seemed a good thing to do. It changed my life.

When I was younger I had poor spacial awareness and was always tripping over, which lead to some hilarious incidents including my Steve (my former partner) pulling me out of a peat bog as I’d sunk up to my knees and was slowly falling face forward into the bog.  Another time I went flying, just as a busload of tourists came round the corner in very rural Ireland.  I was always collecting bruises from bumping into things.

It’s a long time ago, but the first things I noticed doing yoga was that it helped me stretch (especially my hamstrings), helped calm my brain as I was concentrating on breathing and the position of my limbs.  I learnt to do corpse pose (Shavasana) not ‘banana’ pose as my first Yoga teacher Jacky named it.  Yoga isn’t a quick fix – it took me about 6 weeks to see the real benefit. I carried on with Jacky’s classes and then John Aplin for years until my work pattern changed.

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In a Vase on Monday – Bee Cheerful & Enjoy Today

‘Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you miss the sense of where you are going and why’ Eddie Cantor, US Actor and Radio Broadcaster.

The very hot weather continues here in NW England, the ground is parched, we’ve had huge wildfires on the moors near Bolton and Oldham, we’ve got the threat of a hosepipe ban from early August (not that I’ve got a hosepipe) and everyone seems to be moaning about the heat.  I’m not complaining about the heat – I’m cheerful as it means my arthritis pain is minimal, which makes a massive difference to my wellbeing and energy levels.  So I’ve been doing more walking in the woods near us and getting out and about.

So I’ve been watering my plants with the watering can every evening; I find it a very relaxing, mindful activity.  I’ve had a very relaxing time in July as I’ve got time off work – time for Wimbledon and enjoying the sunshine (with factor 50, shades and a hat).

I decided to go with a bright arrangement today.  For my Vase, I’ve picked:

  • Coreopsis – ‘Sunkiss’ and ‘Early Sunrise’.   The common name is Tickseed, but luckily I’ve not had any tick bites on my walks, though horse flies are rampant at the moment and most people I know have a nasty bite or two.
  • two patio/mini roses one red and one shocking pink – both gifts so I’ve no idea of their names.
  • Hypericum from my front garden – it’s appeared a couple of times in the blog
  • Pale yellow marguerite daisy – I’ve got three of these growing well after being in the ‘sick plant’ section at a well known DIY store.
  • An orange French Marigold, sadly the rest have been decimated by the slugs 😦 They’re the only plants that have been eaten, so that’s not so bad.

The print ‘Enjoy Today’ was designed by Becky Bettesworth.   I bought it when I visited Cornwall for the first time in over 30 years in 2015.  I sailed often when I was younger and it reminds me to be ‘in the moment’ and accept the direction of the wind (and/or life).

The jug and mug are made by charlottemacey.co.uk/
They have cute, stylised birds flying on the inner rim.   I bought these in Cornwall too.

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Red and Pink roses, Coreopsis, Marguerite, Hypericum berries

It was so hot, I photographed the vase in the early evening shade, so I am pleased the flower colours came out so well.

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In a Vase on Monday – in the pink with Pimms (and tennis)

This week I’ve been watching a lot of tennis.  It’s definitely part of my summer schedule to watch Wimbledon, I’ve watched it since I was a child.  My Mum loves watching tennis, so I caught the bug from her.  We went to Wimbledon in 1977 when I was 11 – Centre Court tickets. We saw Billy Jean King and Martina, Ile Nastase, a very young John McEnroe. we had a brilliant day. I’d love to go again, need to remember to apply for the ballot 🙂 A friend told me she won ballot tickets for the Ladies Final in 2009, when Serena beat Venus, so it’s worth a go.

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So for today’s vase, I thought I’d do a Wimbledon theme.  There’s always plenty of flowers and plants around the Wimbledon site – and it all looks lovely from what you can see in on the TV/  I picked some dianthus (commonly known as pinks), some  purple perennial wallflower (which is still flowering!), white pelargonium and a different lavender from last week. These colours sum up summer for me – pinks, reds, purples and whites.  My strawberries are over so I couldn’t include them 😦 The plants aren’t looking very happy in the heat even though they’re in the shade.

It is very dry in our garden, as we’ve only had significant rain one evening last week and once in June.  The temperature has been in mid-20s for a couple months now – with no cloud cover.  Our houses aren’t designed for this level of sustained heat.  I have the curtains at the front of the house and I am grateful for once for a north-facing back garden.  I’d been gardening in the shade when I can too. As well as a lot of watering using the watering can – the water butts are full again from last weeks rain so that helps.
The huge moorland fires at Winter Hill, by Bolton and Dovestones, by Oldham are only a few miles from me – the smell of smoke hung across the city centre for a few days two weeks ago.  The firefighters are still dampening down the peat, many footpaths and a few roads are closed.  Grim.

The flowers are displayed in a small jug with roses on, that I bought at Bodnant Garden, a National Trust property, where My Chap and I got engaged in June 2016.  We have picnics often so one of my small hampers is a prop too. I’ve written before about Bodnant, and the jug has appeared before, too:

I don’t have any dainty teacups to put in this shot, as I only have chunky big mugs for tea but I’m sure you get the idea with the mini jug, and the sign is a nod to the scoring in tennis and the small picnic hamper.

Do have a look at Cathy’s post in Rambling in the Garden – she has zinnias this week which I’ve never attempted to grow. Maybe next year.

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Pimms 
I love Pimms – I drink it all year round, usually in pint glasses without fruit just mint and Ice.  Drinking pints of Pimms is my Dad’s fault as he couldn’t be bothered to go back into the kitchen to pour more Pimms when we were sat out enjoying the sunshine in the back garden.  I like the Blackberry and Elderflower Pimms too – it tastes like alcoholic Ribena.  Yoda likes Pimms too 😉  For those that don’t know Pimms was invented in 1823 by James Pimm who owned oyster bars in the City of London.  It’s a gin-based drink and even now the herbs and spices used are a secret recipe.  He went on to invent a number of Cups based on different spirits including No. 6 Cup (vodka),  No 3 Cup (based on Brandy) now available as Winter Pimms.  I drink Winter Pimms too and that’s lovely as a hot drink on a cold, wintery evening.   All the other Cups are phased out at the moment 😦

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Here are some of my favourite Pimm’s recipes in addition to Pimms and lemonade.  My dad used to put borage in our Pimms but mint is fine too.

Pimms and ginger ale

  • 1 part Pimms and 3 parts ginger ale over ice

My Chap particularly likes this one with a quality ginger beer.

Cranberry Pimms 

  • 375ml  Pimm’s No.1 Cup
  • 1litre sparkling lemonade, chilled
  • 200ml cranberry juice
  • 1 sliced lemon as garnish
  • Mint leaves as garnish
  • Redcurrants or fresh berries, as the garnish

yoda collage with pimms

You can see that Yoda has aged a few years in these pictures too…

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Do you have any favourite summer drinks?  We love gin and tonic too. My Chap has a collection of gins.
What do you have planned for the week?

Carpe Diem

love Bec xxx xxx

 

In a Vase on Monday – Marvellous Manly, Sydney Harbour, Australia

We are all equal in front of a wave – Laird Hamilton – professional big wave surfer

My Chap and I were in Sydney for a few days ahead of travelling to Melbourne for my nieces 18th birthday party. I’ve been to Sydney seven times over nearly 30 years. It’s one of the truly great cities of the world – and I could never get tired of traveling around the city by foot, on the Ferries or the double decker trains. My Chap has never been, so we decided to see some of the key places. I’ll write some more posts about our travels around Australia, so do come back again.

Sydney has changed alot in some ways, and in other ways has stayed exactly the same. I’m not talking about the famous sights, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Rocks, the Ferries or the Opera House. Sydneysiders are still friendly, helpful and still have a really weird Australian accent. Though you’ll find, like most cities, the waiting and serving staff come from all around the world; we met Italians, Dutch, Germans, and of course, Brits and Kiwis.

Looking across Manly and the North Shore beaches

On Monday morning we headed off to Circular Quay to catch the ferry to Manly, which is on the North shore of Sydney Harbour. Sydney has an amazingly cheap, integrated, transport system across trawith a top up card like the Oyster Card. It’s easy to add money and the fare system is very clear – it also extends right out to the Blue Mountains which are over an hour away on the suburban trains. I wish we had a system like this in Manchester.

The trains (which are double decker and also serve as Underground trains) and buses stop right by Circular Quay – I recognised lots of the ferry names from previous visits so I know they ‘recycle’ them. The Ferries come in various sizes and people ‘really do’ commute to work by ferry. You can easily ferry hop around the Harbour, including visiting the zoo. We didn’t have time to do this much, but will definitely be on the Ferries more next time we visit.

Manly is about a half hour ferry ride, which also takes you past The Heads, the entrance to the harbour and it’s very easy to see why Captain Cook sailed straight past, and made landfall at Botany Bay a few miles down the coast. It’s a very small gap for such a huge harbour. Both North and South Health are now part of Sydney Harbour National Park. Cook sailed on to Botany Bay which is now the centre of the Australian shipping industry.

Sydney Harbour is the fourth largest harbour in the world. It’s proper name is Port Jackson. The geographical centre of Sydney is Parramatta which is a 45min ferry ride to Circular Quay. Manly is 25 minutes heading east towards the Heads. So this gives you a good idea just how vast Greater Sydney is, each neighbourhood has a different character and there’s usually intersting things to p see, parades of shops, parks and markets. If you’re a ‘people watcher’ like me, you’ll enjoy pottering around and a trip on a ferry is always good fun. There are many bays and inlets, with harbour or sea views commanding huge sums, these are some of the most desirable locations in the world.

We saw incredible homes almost glued onto the cliff often with infinity swimming pools. They have alot of glass and huge family rooms and outdoor eating out areas.

Manly – an Autumn Day Out

Manly It’s the home of Australian board surfing. Everyone tells you to visit Manly and they’re right. It’s a lovely place with many 1920s Art Deco buildings, just head over the road from the ferry terminal up the Corso to the surf beach. When I first visited Manly in 1991, the Corso was full of seaside ‘tat’ shops, but it’s definitely scrubbed up now. There’s some great places to eat and plenty of clothing shops. The Art Deco pubs have scrubbed up too – no sign of the 100 dollars fruit machines like the first time I visited.

If you like watching Australian sport Manly have a Rugby League team – Manly Sea Eagles. I watched them cuff Parramatta, the last time I visit Sydney in 2004.

Manly Surf Beach

It’s the Autumn in Sydney, the temperature was a lovely 19 degrees, sunny and there were were 30 foot waves – but most of the surfers were out on a spur from the rocks by Shelly Beach – too far away to photograph though.

We had a lovely day pottering around Manly, which has some great walks which take you past the ocean swimming pool.

We walked from Manly Surf Beach, via Shelly Beach to North Head – about 3 miles. There are sculptures and heritage boards along the way – it turns out Manly surf beach used to be called Cabbage Tree Bay – there are a few of these trees on the foreshore.

North Head National Park – new setting for In a Vase on Monday

The hills on North Head were covered in Banksia trees, so I improvised with the ‘In a Vase on Monday’ – no plants harmed in taking the photograph 😉 and I look closer to the edge than I was. I hope Cathy from Rambling in Garden will let me off with this – and I promise to do a proper vase when we are in Melbourne.

Do have a look at Cathy’s post this week – roses! There’s always beautiful flowers from around the world.

I’ve been taking photos of interesting plants I’ve seen around Sydney – I’ve got no idea what most of them are, although I’ve spotted plenty of our house plants growing happily in gardens – seen some huge Peace Lillies.

We spent a relaxed half hour looking at the views and watching the surfers. There weren’t many plants blooming, there were many succulents around and it was very dry and dusty. Easy underfoot though and there are board walks too. Since this is a National Park, no dogs are allowed (with v heavy fines) – not a problem for most tourists.

I did forget that sunset comes earlier and quicker than in the UK, so we had to cut short our walk around North Head and head back as we didn’t have a torch and my fear of Australian critters would overcome in the dark.

We walked back to Manly and had dinner, and a pint or two, in Four Pines Brewery – thoughtly recommended. Then the ferry back to Circular Quay – it was very windy so we were the only people out on the prow – hardy Brits.

It was a great day out 🙂

Sunny Sydney – we will be back

It’s a whistle stop tour but we will be back to stunning Sydney…

Come back again for our next adventure around Australia – the Blue Mountains – an hour out of Sydn

Have you been to Australia? Where did you go? If you’ve not visited yet, what would you like to see?

Carpe Diem,

Love Bec xx xx xx

In a Vase on Monday: Create your own sunshine

‘Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine’ Anthony D’Angelo – American Educator

The weather has been a bit chilly and windy here in Salford, so for today’s vase I picked the brightest colours I could find in the garden – lots of different kinds of dwarf daffodils, including a solitary frilly one. Most of the Daffodils came from a mixed bag of bulbs from my local garden centre Bents. I added some bright yellow primrose, which opens as orange, and a frond of blue scilla. I matched them with an aqua glass vase, which I bought at the Eden Centre a few years ago – it’s made from reclaimed glass, has a metal hanger, handy for wedging stems against. The vase is really a tealight holder – it’s appeared before In a Vase on Monday, with daffodils but I didn’t realise that until I looked it up on the blog. There’s rain drops on the Primula and one of the Daffodils has been munched – oh well that’s Nature for you.

I probably sound like a broken record, but the weather has been very backwards and forwards in April in Salford. It’s been even more changeable than usual for April, – and not many April showers either. There was the brief hot, sunny 70degrees for a few days mid week, which ‘might’ have been our Summer/Spring. It was rather wasted as I was at work, but it did give me a chance to take some photos around Oxford Road. Doesn’t it look awesome and I love the living wall on the side of the Physics building. I wish there were more of these, and more Cherry trees around campus.

Manchester and Salford look stunning at the moment with the many ornamental blossoms – I counted over 50 trees on the way home in so many shades of pink and white, on my 6 mile commute (and two miles in motorway in deep concrete cuttings). I must take some photos of the local ones around Monton – there’s four mature cherry trees on our Green, which definitely isn’t big enough for a cricket match.

As usual I’m linking up with Cathy from Rambling in the Garden; she has a beautiful collection of many shades of white, with streaks of green when you look closely. Like many things, if you look closely you see more. A good reminder for life generally – and doing this helps me be mindful too. I’m expecting to have Tulips in my Vase on Bank Holiday Monday, there are many coming though.

Blurt Foundation #blurtselfcareathon April

This finished today -Monday 30 April 2018. It’s been a reflective day for me.

I’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding photos to represent the topics – sometimes it was very thought provoking, other times the photo and description were straightforward – some photos I had already and some I took especially for the prompt. I made a couple of collages too.

I’d definitely do another of these prompts again. Have you seen anything suitable? Would you have a go? Let me know in the comments.

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Instagram: @becinmonton
Twitter: @becinmonton

Follow the Instagram hashtag – #blurtselfcareathon

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Thank you to The Blurt Foundation for all they do to help people like me – I’d have been a mess if I hadn’t found them. I’ve written about them a few times on the blog.

Follow Blurt Foundation on Instagram @theblurtfoundation
Follow the Instagram hashtag – #blurtselfcareathon

Follow Blurt Foundation on Twitter @BlurtAlerts

More resources and help for depression and anxiety at: www.blurtitout.org

The Blurt Foundation’s CEO Jayne Hardy knows so much about self care, she wrote a book about it :-). It’s available from bookshops Self Care Project

Follow Jayne on Instagram @jaynehardy_ and twitter @JayneHardy_

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I can see my neighbour’s stunning cherry blossom from my front door. Isn’t it gorgeous? It lifts my mood.

In the meantime enjoy National Gardening Week – hope you can get outside to enjoy some gardens, flowers and plants… or just a walk in the sunshine or doing something you love. It’s due to be a sunny Bank Holiday weekend so we’ll be making the most of it.

I’ll be taking notice of the small things too – #mindfulness. I’ve tapped into more of my inner sunshine despite being ridiculously busy.

We go to Australia in less than two weeks to see our awesome relatives so we will definitely see some genuine sunshine (inner sunshine too).

Carpe Diem,

Love Bec xx xx xx

In a Vase on Monday – Bee Kind this Spring

‘Be happy for this moment, This moment is your life’. Omar Khayyam (1048-1132) Persian mathematician, astronomer and poet.

Over the last month or so, I’ve been concentrating even more on my mindfulness practise – and being more in the moment. But, it feels a bit like groundhog day at the moment, Winter (and snow) re-appearing and Spring receding into the distance again (much like it was at the beginning of March). Once again it was a very cold weekend, with snow forcast, so I thought about what I might find the garden; most of the plants are looking a bit sorry for themselves (especially the Camellias) but plenty of bulbs coming up.

27 March 2018 – Hellebore, tête-à-tête daffodils (with ice) photographed on 18 March 2018

On Sunday 18th March, there was about 3inches of snow in our garden, the sky was blue, but it was very cold. It certainly concentrates your mind when you have to bundle up in your thickest coat, scarf, hat and gloves (and walking boots), just to explore what flowers are out in the garden. So I dashed out, and I found more than I was expecting. It made up for the pain from my arthritis, which doesn’t like the cold at all. I’ve struggled with the cold, with pain, which makes me tired all the time. That’s probably why it took over a week to write this blog – oh well I’ll try to be quicker next time.

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In a Vase on Monday -A Cold, Snowy, Salford Spring?

‘No Winter lasts forever, no Spring skips its turn’ Hal Borland (1900-1978) American author and naturalist

No one in Britain can have missed the weather the last few weeks, #thebeastfromtheEast, #StormEmma and more snow due this weekend. I hope you don’t mind, but some of this post was written a couple of weeks ago, and the rest today, as another wintery weekend looms. Also I’ve been a bit stuck, very tired and osteo-arthritis aching but I’ve been plodding along. I feel a bit like Spring, stuck around the corner, nearly in reach but not quite. I saw something on twitter today, which made me laugh:

Winter this year, is like a person who leaves the room in a huff, only to come back in ‘and another thing…’ only to leave again… and return…

#theBeastfromthe East brought about 4 inches of snow to Monton, it’s very unusual to have this much, usually it’s about two inches, as it’s very flat around here with many canals. It was THAT cold and icy our local Parkrun (Worsley woods) was cancelled… this never happens as its under trees and very protected compared to most Parkruns. Fortunately my Chap was OK about this, as the air was far too cold for running – you wouldn’t think to look at him that he has asthma 🙂

The wind chill dipped to minus 12 during the night, and minus 8 during the day. I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold in the middle of the city. I’m very used to cold, when I’m up a mountain and layered up. It reminded me of the very cold day in January 2015, when we went to Neuschwanstein, in Bavaria with my Brother and his family, who were visiting from Australia – happy memories 🙂

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A very cold, snowy day in Monton on 4th March 2018
It wasn’t lost on me that 1st March was the start of the meteorological Spring – so I layered up with my thickest, longest waterproof, gloves, hat, scarf and boots and ventured into the garden to see what flowers I could find. I was surprised to find some tête-à-têtes, and some purple perennial wallflower so I quickly picked the flowers, and put them in a vase with some lavender. The vase has appeared in ‘In a Vase on Monday’ many times, I wrapped ‘bee happy’ washi tape around it. The print is part of a series – the Winter print with descriptions of moons has appeared too (Worm Moon, Pink Moon and Flower Moon) at the start of metreological Winter. Butterflies and bees seem a long way off at the moment, but like most things, they’ll be back.

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