It’s Lancashire Day today 27th November. The day commemorates the first day the county was represented at Parliament in 1215; Lancashire is a wonderful county, so much to see and do here. I live in Eccles, which started out in Lancashire, but is now in Greater Manchester, but most people consider themselves Lancastrians.
I thought I’d tell you about my visit to Burnley in the Lancashire hills last weekend; I was invited by Burnley Social to the #BigBurnleyClothesSwap to cover the event (free of charge). Burnley Social are working to promote Burnley as a great place to live, work, study and visit.
They ran the event to support students and young people to #recycle and #reuse while supporting the local Hospice (www.pendleside.org.uk) – and have a bit of fun too. They’d laid on hairdressers and makeup artists, and a photographer – and music.
Boohoo supported the event by donating ‘samples’ for the event – thanks Boohoo 😊
Why I love Clothes swaps #recycle #reuse
These are great ways to refresh your wardrobe – all you do is bring some clean, good quality items and swap for items from other people. When you get to a clothes swap event you’re usually given token or coloured raffles tickets corresponding to the same number of items you’ve brought (swapping like for like). So a raffle ticket for tops means you can choose a top, accessories for accessories etc.
I’ve been to a few clothes swaps at my WI. If you’ve not been to one – please try one out or get together with a group of friends yourselves. You’ll be surprised what you find – and swapping with real people means they have suggestions about what you should try that you’d never pick up.
I got a lovely checked shirt for my husband to add to his collection and a new party dress for me (under wraps for the moment)
Everything was well organised at #BigBurnleyClothesSwap and I saw people choosing some beautiful things. Thank you Burnley Social 🙂 I hear there’s going to be another clothes swap in 2019.
‘Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary’ ProfessorBreneBrown,UniversityofHouston – 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.
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, butyou 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….
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.
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 – my favourite
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.
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.
It won’t surprise you that lavender will be integral to our wedding flowers in Sept 2017.
The other plants lurking at the bottom of the garden are the remnants of the blackberry and raspberry canes – which reminded me to hunt out my last jam jar for the photos.
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 – my prize-winning jam
My jam won ‘tastiest jam’ at our Women’s Institute weekend away in September- yes it really did. I am staggered still, as it’s only my second attempt at jam and there was competition from far more experienced jam makers than me. We had a wonderful time in the Cheshire countryside at a Scout camp at our Big WIkender – do have a look at the photos :-). I was very chuffed to win this badge 🙂
I didn’t go in September 2017 as it started the day after our wedding. Some of the Cottonopolis crew went straight there as it was only three miles from where we got married. They had an excellent time – crafting, relaxing in the woods, drinking gin
Big WIKender – September 2018. I booked to go and the theme is ‘wild west’
I’m a member of Cottonopolis Women’s Institute in Ancoats in Manchester city centre – we meet 1st Tuesday of the month, 7 for 730pm at Halle St Michael on George Leigh Street – www.cottonopoliswi.com/
Autumn fruit jam (blackberry, apple, raspberry, blueberry, red currant) – a prize-winning jam
Autumn Fruit Jam Recipe
I used 900g mixed soft fruit which included:
about 300g v tart blackberries from the garden
two big Braeburn apples – cored, peeled and sliced
about 200g blueberries – only about 20 from the 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)
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 🙂
And voila – it should make two or three jars.
I’ve made chutney for years but jam is MUCH quicker to do.
Do you have any good Autumn Fruit Jam recipes? Any other jam recipes? Have you made jam? How did it come out? Let me know in the comments.
lavender in a very 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 🙂
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.