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
This week I’ve been watching a lot of tennis (and drinking Pimms). 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.
Dianthus and Lavender In My Vase on a Monday
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.
Hot hot hot in our garden
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 in the UK aren’t designed for this level of sustained heat. I have the curtains shut 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. I’m using the watering can every day- 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:
- In A Vase on Monday – good enough when not in the Pink – 13 December 2017
- Our engagement at Bodnant – June 2016
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.
The History of 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 🙁
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.
- 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
You can see that Yoda has aged a few years in these pictures too…
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?
love Bec xxx xxx
Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.
– Deborah Day, Author Be Happy Now
I’m really looking forward to joining with The Blurt Foundation #blurtselfcareathon in April. Selfcare is something I try to do every day. I really enjoyed doing #blurtmerrycalmness it’s helped my #mindfulness practice, helped my #wellbeing and finding words and photos to represent each word.
It will mostly run on Instagram, but I thought I’d do some overview posts here too.
I’ve got lots of ideas of what pictures to take and what I want to write about to fit with the daily theme. I find that having a concept to think about each day, makes me think more mindfully. I do know that taking photos, being outside and being in the moment helps me enormously with my anxiety and living with chronic pain from arthritis
I’ve done a couple of these photo prompts before:
- December 2017 – #blurtmerrycalmness
- January 2018 – #savouringJanuary – @gabrielletreanor – Gabrielle writes about wellbeing, slowing down and self care, being in the moment, mindfulness advice for overthinkers (like me). I really enjoyed this photo prompt too but I’ll write about this another time.
Want to get involved with #blurtselfcareathon?
I’ve been discussing the #blurtselfcareathon on a peer support group on Facebook and some people were a bit stuck about what photos to take and what to write about.
So I thought I’d write a post showing some of my photos for the December prompts. I hope you find it helpful.
- You don’t need to post every day – there’s no pressure with this.
- If you want to keep things more private there are closed facebook pages – or just email yourself
- It’s your selfcare – do it your way 🙂
- It’s can be a good idea to look back to see what you wrote – and see how far you’ve come.
- in some ways these photos prompts are a bit like a diary/journal
- For me taking photos are part of my self care but they don’t need to look ‘instagramable’ or ‘touched up’. It really doesn’t matter what photo you use to represent your ideas.
- have fun with it 🙂
- go at your pace – catch up or skip days if you want to.
- Have a look around the hashtag
Here’s the prompts for December 2017 – #blurtmerrycalmness
‘Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary’ Professor Brene Brown, University of Houston – asocialworkacademicwithexpertiseincourage, vulnerability and empathy.
#BlueMonday is made up
It’s not #BlueMonday in Manchester, or anywhere else, today; it was made up to sell holidays and products. It did remind 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 around 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 a 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 our 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.
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….
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.
- Bodnant Gardens – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden
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…..
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,
and remember #BlueMonday is made up – don’t take any notice of this psychobabble
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.
Love Bec xx xx xx
Now a soft kiss – Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss. –
Endymion II, John Keats
This has been a very strange summer for many reasons, the weather has been really wet, so many plants and flowers are weeks behind flowering when they should have. This week I dodged the monsoon downpours to pick these sweetpea flowers. They were tricky to photograph as the light was so poor – it felt like October. They smell wonderful though.
It’s been a hectic year so far, many changes at work and uncertainty for many people But, I start an exciting new role next month, so there’s been much to arrange, lots of extra studying and planning; I’m looking forward to it. I’m still feeling very, very tired and my back ache and arthritis have been painful, but I’m much, much better than I was this time last year. I couldn’t have got to where I am today, without the unending support and love of My Chap – he’s always holding my hand – sometimes metaphorically 😉
This vase appeared before as part of ‘In a Vase on Monday’ before in late July 2015; it turns out I’d picked sweetpeas then too – completely different colours though. I do remember that the sweetpea plants were about 6 foot high and covered in flowers – they’ve barely reached 4 foot this year.
As I mentioned, I’ve been very busy so although I’ve picked and photographed flowers and vases quite a few times this year – I haven’t ‘quite’ managed to write blog posts – chronically late even for me. As ever, I really enjoy seeing everyone’s flowers (and vases) from around the world – it’s really lifted me, inspired me and made me feel part of a community. Thank you everyone.
‘In a Vase on Monday’ is hosted by Cathy at www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com so do have a look to see what people have created – this week there are some Ikebana Japanese flower arrangements – Cathy’s Ikebana Venus is beautiful. I think I might have to think hard about Ikebana and do some reading before I have a go. I still tend to plonk flowers in vases and hope for the best.
It’s said that the poet John Keats (1795-1821) was the first person to use the name sweet pea for these flowers. Although. the style of sweetpeas he knew would be very different to modern day ones because of hybrids. In the language of flowers Sweetpeas meaning blissful pleasure.
We are feeling blissful 🙂
The big news is – My Chap asked me to marry him and I said YES!!!
On Saturday 18th June 2016, we took a picnic and headed off to Bodnant Garden in Wales; we go often and love it there. We had a great time, wandering around the estate and the mountains of Snowdonia glistened in the sunshine. We took many photos of the Dell, in particular (the rhododendrons and azaleas were nearly over but the hydrangeas were just coming into bloom).
We arrived at the rose garden about 5pm. It was exceptional – the roses are in full bloom and the scent incredible. I sat on a bench by the roses My Chap got down on one knee and asked me….Blissful.
My Chap chose my engagement ring too – it fits perfectly – what a wonderful man.
We celebrated by buying a purple lupin from the Bodnant garden centre.
My Brother and Sister in Law sent us a stunning Waterford crystal vase which will definitely be appearing as the star of ‘In a Vase in Monday’.
I don’t think it will surprise ANY of my fellow gardening bloggers that the first thing we thought about was ‘what style and colours our wedding flowers should be?’ Roses will definitely appearing, as will lavender, and sweetpeas too. I hope we can grow some flowers for our wedding, so I’ll be seeking advice for a ‘cutting garden’ in our small, northern, north-facing back garden.
Just need to get on with arrangements and find a venue – We are getting married late September 2017.
Exciting times 🙂
Have a wonderful week everyone.