Tag Archives: In a vase on Monday

Salvia, petunia, wallflower and snapdragon with a bee jug - with a hygge 19 November 2018

‘Making Winter’ by Emma Mitchell – A Review – In a Vase on Monday 19 November 2018

I’m getting set for Winter here in Manchester – a biting East wind was buffeting Manchester and sky looked like we were stuck inside a Tupperware bowl. V grey 🙁  Time to get ready for Winter… blankets, soups and stews, making objects and food for Christmas – my husband was muttering about making a fruitcake – and Hygge…

This word has been all over the internet for the last few years but there’s a lot more to it than you’d imagine…

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special. – Alex at www.hyggehouse.com/hygge

Alex (who has a Danish Mum and a French Dad) writes that Hygge isn’t really about ‘objects’ or ‘food’ it’s a state of ‘being’, being in the present, taking life a bit more slowly, spending time with friends/family, forming memories… This resonates with me.  Do have a look around her blog as she has some good suggestions for the ‘slower’ life.

salvia petunia wallflower with jug with bees and a hygge sign

salvia petunia wallflower bee jug with a hygge sign

Time to get a little ‘hygge’

Here’s the full list on this lovely print 🙂

Time to get a little ‘hygge’
Woolly blankets and thick socks – Yes
A mug of hot chocolate and with cream and marshmallows – well a lacto-free one would go down very well right now
Creating future memories – yes, we are making plans for December, Christmas, and January (a trip to London)
Blazing logs – no fire in our house but there are plenty in the country pubs in Lancashire 
Preparing a favourite recipe – Christmas fruitcake?
Taking a Nap – yes we all know #selfcare matters
Closing the curtains – the thick winter curtains are up 🙂
Belly laughs – always 😉
Reading by candlelight – Always candles in our house anytime of year 
Evenings with friends – Bring them on 🙂

So what are you doing to get a little ‘hygge‘?

Salvia, petunia, wallflower and snapdragon with a white jug with bees on it 19 November 2018

Salvia, petunia, wallflower and snapdragon with a bee jug. 19 November 2018

In a Vase on Monday – salvia, petunia, wallflower and snapdragon

I ran out around the garden looking for flowers – it was surprising how many flowers were still around… as I’ve said before the weather this year has been so odd this year.  I picked a bright, summery vase too because I saw a couple of bees around the front garden at the weekend (when it was warmer).  Here are my flowers:

The Vase looks as if it was picked in late September not November.   There are some hardy fuchsia flowers around still so they may make it into next week’s vase… but we’ll see what the weather brings this weekend. Snow on the hills around Manchester for definite 😉


The jug is made by Sophie Allport (www.sophieallport.com/uk/);  I bought it on our first visit to The Lost Gardens of Heligan in 2015. It has a quote inside the rim (Busy, busy bumble bee). This jug has appeared before too:

Lensbaby photo – Trio 28 sweet

I thought you’d like to see the same vase taken with my ‘Lensbaby’ – central focus and softer edges.  I’m pleased with this photograph.

salvia petunia wallflower bee jug 19-November 2018 hygge sign

salvia, petunia, snapdragon, and a wallflower with a bee jug 19 November 2018 – taken with Lensbaby Trio 28 – sweet

Note – this photo is my copyright so please don’t use or download it


As usual, I am joining Cathy from Rambling in the Garden – this week she has some Viburnum in an ikebana-style arrangement (Japanese).  There are some glorious arrangements around the world – Spring in the southern hemisphere too.


Making Winter – A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months
By Emma Mitchell  – A Review

I bought this book in 2017, and I’ve dipped in a bit last winter, making a couple of recipes, but my focus was on getting healthier. It gets a mention here:

However, I wanted to write a proper review.  The short answer is – I really love this book.  It’s a beautiful book with stunning photography and drawings.

Emma writes about living in Fens, the countryside, changing of the seasons and collecting wildflowers and plants from her daily walks.  She also writes about how nature, being outdoors and crafting have helped her mental health and wellbeing.  I can’t tell you how much this chimes with me.   Emma also writes about the science – serotonin.

The book has recipes, crochet patterns, making hawthorn gin, wreaths, and drawing/paintings – each has stunning clear photographs and instructions.  Everything I’ve tried has worked fine.  Even though I’m, not a crocheter, my pals who are said these patterns are fairly straightforward to do – with clear stitch instructions.

I’m feeling the need to make some plum, orange and ginger blondies:-)

Silver Clay

There’s a section on silver clay too – how to make jewellery pendants using leaves and other natural materials.  I loved making a silver clay pendant when I was at Denman College in October, with my Mum.

I’ve booked to go back in January for another course 🙂 excited 🙂


  • I see on Instagram that Emma has a new book out in January 2019 – it’s called The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us – A Diary
  • you can follow Emma on Instagram (@silverpebble2)


Emma’s book reminded me I need to start reading Nigel Slater’s Christmas Chronicles – full of recipes and preparation for Christmas and mid-winter.  I need to look out our Booth Christmas book (get our food order in) and then re-read the mighty Nigella – we saw her ‘In Conversation’ a couple of weeks ago – she was as fabulous as you’d imagine 🙂


So what are you doing to ‘get Hygge’?
Have you read Emma’s Book? if you have – what did you think?
Do you any Autumn crafting?
Do you do anything special at this time of year? or is it all full speed for Christmas? 

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xxx xxx



Five fuchsias with magical pals – In a Bottle on Monday

I’ve written many times about how much flowers, gardening and the great outdoors help my health and wellbeing – coupled with mindfulness and yoga help me every day.  I think I’d be in a much tougher place without all these things.  That and my ace family and friends.  Not long after I started my blog, nearly four years ago, I came across a gardening blog called Rambling in the Garden (www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com), run by a lovely lady called Cathy.  There was a link up every Monday involving picking flowers and plants from your garden (or locality) and placing them in in a vase – it was fascinating to see what she had grown in her garden, and what the other gardening bloggers around the world were growing. Today the meme has it’s fifth birthday.

I thought I need to get involved, as one of the reasons, I’d started the blog was to keep track of what is growing in the garden and when it flowers.

Here’s my first link up:

I learn so much from being involved in this meme – so much about gardening, what to plant and what not to plant, flower arranging and how to take ‘macro’ photography shots.   But more than that Cathy has always written lovely supportive and caring comments on my posts, always has something constructive to say – and above all has always been kind.  One day, I hope to meet Cathy face to face – probably when RHS Bridgewater opens – as I know she’d want to look around.

Keep on doing what your doing Cathy – it’s magical and wonderful.

Cathy says she had no idea what she’d started, but I know for sure it has a positive impact on so many people 🙂 xx

Gardeners join in from all around the world – On dark days in the middle of Winter, seeing the bright blooms from around the world have lifted my mood.   They’ve helped me when I’ve been unwell too as it’s encouraged me to get out and take photos.  It’s helped me to write better too – to find my voice.  So thank you to every IAVOM blogger who’s picked and taken photos over the years – and an extra special thank you to everyone who’s ever commented on my vases.  I’ve been rubbish at replying but I’ve read every comment.  I rarely manage to post on a Monday either – mainly because it’s dark/wet in Manchester and life is full on. But, Cathy says that doesn’t matter… it’s the joining in that counts.

And sometimes pals in your phone/internet can help you more than they realise, help you find a way through, find a new perspective…


Today is the fifth birthday of ‘In a Vase on Monday’ hosted by wonderful Cathy.  Here’s what she’s picked and written about – not a vase and some dried flowers – but much more than that it’s about kindness, friendship, help and support – Thank you, everyone 🙂

For this week’s contribution to IAVOM, Cathy suggested NOT using a Vase…. have a look 🙂

If you want to join in – have a go, it’s not massively complex – some people just post one photo and minimal words, others weave the photos into stories – others pick plants from holidays and trips. It’s a good way to see how your garden or locality changes, month to month and year to year – and you never know you might find a new pal or two on the internet.

five fuchsias in five bottles in a wicker basket with a Veronica Dearly quote.

Continue reading

Red and orange pyracantha coreopsis, marguerite in a triangular, red glass vase

Orange and red firethorn, bonfires and fundraising – In a Vase on Monday – 5 November 2018

Anyone in the UK will be well aware it’s Guy Fawkes Night, so as I’m writing this there’s the fizz, bang and pop of fireworks all around me. Plenty of people still hold their own family fireworks in the back gardens. Locally, in Pendleton in Salford, there is a huge fireworks display and bonfire at Buile Hill Park organised by Salford Council – many of the cricket and rugby clubs were hosting events as fundraisers.  I’ve had the colours of fire on my mind today. I wanted to write about two things today – flowers and fundraising. Orange is the connection – we’ve been fundraising for Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Red and orange pyracantha coreopsis, marguerite in a triangular, red glass vase

Red and orange pyracantha coreopsis, marguerite in a triangular, red glass vase

In a Vase on Monday – fire!

I wouldn’t usually include the berries that are going over but it seems appropriate to acknowledge the change in the seasons…

The vase is an unusual triangular shaped red glass vase dating from the early 1960s.  I found it in my friend Steve’s home after he died in 2015. It must have been a wedding present for his father and mother.  Knew them over 20 years, I never saw flowers in the house.  But, I kept this vase and a pair of crystal vases probably another wedding present.  One had a pile of pennies in it.  I fill these vases with flowers and think fondly of Ju, Kev and Steve – very missed.


As usual, I am joining Cathy at www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com – it’s a simple idea pick plants, flowers, seedheads etc from your garden or locality and put in a ‘vase’. The vases are very inventive – gardening bloggers from around the world join in.  Do have a look – it certainly lifts my mood on a dark, wet Manchester evening when I can see flowers in their full Spring glory on the other side of the world.


Prickly plants help stop burglars

With the dark nights, it’s easier for burglars to lurk and enter unlit buildings. One way to deter people with nefarious intentions is with shrubs with thorns. Good contenders are:

  • Pyracantha – Firethorn – I certainly felt it taking cuttings for the vase.
  • Berberis – there are many different varieties, including a stunning maroon one.  My mum has it under her kitchen window.
  • Roses including climbers.
blue ticket for Motor Neurone Disease Association Manchester Ball - 3 Nov 2018 with orange mascarade mask on a party table

Motor Neurone Disease Association Manchester Ball – 3 November 2018

Fundraising for the Motor Neurone Disease Association

On Saturday, my husband and I attended the Masquerade Ball for the Manchester Motor Neurone Disease Association along with 300 other people in all their finery. Bright blue and orange are the corporate colours of the association.

Our aim is to raise as much money and awareness as possible to help people living with MND (we call them warriors) five of them were at the ball.

My husband’s younger brother died from MND aged fifty in January after five years with this vile disease. He is loved and missed every day.  My husband runs ultra marathons, endurance events, trail and half marathons. He’s pushed our pal Bethan who has cerebral palsy around Brighton marathon. Bethan lost her mum to MND.

The ONLY positive thing about MND arriving in your life is that you find some amazing people who become lifelong friends.  We were with many local pals from the association and our running pals from #RunMND who came from all over the country to support our fundraising and have some fun.  Plenty of people were there too from our local hospital Salford Royal which is the regional centre for MND support and care.

We had some suburb auction prizes including Manchester United tickets, take that concert tickets, numerous meals and afternoon teas, wines and spirits. We won the auction on a specially commissioned painting.

The event was organised by Stacey Kerr who’s our awesome volunteer fundraising coordinator – she has raised nearly £40k in her own right in five years.

We raised a staggering £11,600 – well done everyone

Here we are in our outfits #withfilter  wearing my wedding dress 🙂 yes my shoes glow under the flashlight 😉

Find out more about our branch here:

My husband’s next run is Manchester Marathon next April 2019 – you can find his JustGiving page here:

Find the RunMND posse (usually wearing orange ra-ra skirts) – there are nearly 900 of us around the UK and even some in Australia:

Plodders, strollers, endurance in anything (walking, pushing wheelchairs, running) are very welcome – including supporters like me

More information and help on MND:

It’s a vile, grim disease but if you’re affected please get in touch.

You’re never alone xxx xxx

Find us on social media too.


I still can’t form sentences to explain how much I miss my own brother who died suddenly in March 2017 – he was doing what he loved which is a comfort.  He is loved, missed and thought about all around the world

I am reminded that ‘life isn’t a dress rehearsal’ get out and live it, have fun with the people you love, be kind, make a difference and laugh every day.


Do you fundraise?

Carpe Diem,

Love Bec xx xxx


pink pelagonium, purple and pink saliva, purple wallflower and fuchsia in green stoneware jug

Dreaming of Cornwall – pink pelargonium salvia fuchsia – In a Vase on Monday – 15 October 2018

Life is very hectic at the moment – in a good way. Various plans seem to be coming together but it is tough squeezing everything in – I feel like I’ve been chained to the laptop. Most things I’m writing are things I want to write about – so that helps. I’m working on various different projects and activities – some crafting projects and courses too. I’m hoping my plans are coming together and I’m remaining positive – carrying on with mindfulness, yoga and daily walking. This quote resonated with me – I’m keeping going…

‘One of the things I’ve learnt the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.’

Lucille Ball (1911-1989) – actress, comedienne and producer. She was the first woman to run a Hollywood Studio in 1962.

My birthday is in October and My Chap’s a week later – these follow quickly from our first wedding anniversary – so there’s been plenty of adventures and weekends away as well – he’s been running for the motor neurone disease association at half marathons too.

One of the things, I’ve been doing is taking photographs when it is sunny – here’s my vase from Monday. The weather has been sunny and warm most days; even when it’s overcast it’s still too warm for the time of year. It was 22 degrees on my birthday last week. This vase looks like one from August, not mid-October.

pink pelagonium, purple and pink saliva, purple wallflower and fuchsia in green stoneware jug

pink pelargonium, purple and red saliva, purple wallflower and fuchsia in green/blue stoneware jug

Flowers in my Vase

  • pink edged pelargonium – Crimson Flame
  • Salvia ‘Armistead’
  • Red Salvia
  • purple perennial wallflower – this bush has been flowering continuously since about March – it’s appeared in the IAVOM often too.
  • fuchsia – it’s a hardy one, grows is about five foot high at the moment and flowering profusely – I think it’s magellania

Continue reading

wedding bouquet purple flowers inc lavender, lilac roses, sea holly

wedding flowers lavender, paper anniversary – In a Vase on Monday 1 October 2018

This week I’ve been thinking of the past…it’s was our first wedding anniversary last week.   My favourite flower is lavender, we got married in late September when it’s in its full glory – we grew lavender plants for all the table decorations, it was in my bouquet, mentioned in quotes.  It was both a decoration and as a colour in our bunting.   The smell of lavender brings back so many happy memories, not just of our wedding day.  Our wedding was purple, floral and fabulous.

So for my In a Vase on Monday – I went to pick lavender from our garden as I did a year ago, I picked eucalyptus to represent my wonderful Australian family.   it’s from a huge tree at the end of our street.   The vase is one I glazed a couple of weeks ago – it’s raku glaze.  I don’t usually photograph the vases in detail but I thought you’d all like to see the shimmery glaze.

I learnt the technique at Create in Bolton – I wrote about making a clay daisy flower for the garden last week for my In a Vase on Monday.

lavender euchalyptus blue raku vase quote

lavender and eucalyptus in a blue raku vase I glazed







The thing with raku glazing is you don’t quite know how it will come out.  It’s an interesting process, there are fire, alchemy and sawdust involved 🙂  I’ll write about this in more detail another time, after our next raku firing session.

raku pottery vase – shades of blue, green, copper, white.

As usual, I’m joining in with Cathy from Rambling in the Garden for In a Vase on Monday. Do have a look at what she’s and the gardening bloggers from around the world have picked for their vases this week

Quote from the song – you and me by you + me

The quote in the frame is my ‘paper anniversary’ gift to my awesome husband; it’s from a special song we played at our ceremony:

You and me were always with each other
Before we knew the others was ever there
You and me we belong together
Just like a breath needs the air
I told you if you called I would come runnin’
Across the highs the lows and the in between…

‘you and me’ written and sung by you + me

Do have a look at the YouTube video it’s beautiful You and Me – You + Me

Liz from Echo Design made the quote frame for me for my ‘paper’ 1st wedding anniversary present for my wonderful husband.

Our wedding – flower and love filled

It was our paper anniversary last week.  I realised I hadn’t really written very much about wedding last year on a gloriously sunny day in September – it was very ‘full-on’ for most of 2017 and this year too.   I wasn’t very well last year, high arthritis pain levels, so it took a great deal of energy to organise our wedding even though it was a team effort.

We got married in the garden, had an afternoon tea, two wedding cakes, and a hog roast. There was music til late – love, laughter and happiness celebrating with our family and friends from near and far.  My wonderful Brother was in my thoughts as he always is. He’s in everyone’s heart and always will be.   My awesome sister in law and my brilliant nieces were crucial to our wedding day – it was just brilliant that they were there to celebrate with us.

irregular choice purple floral candy whistle shoes and purple, lavender, rose wedding bouquet

irregular choice purple floral candy whistle shoes and purple, lavender, rose wedding bouquet

Our wedding flowers

The flowers in my wedding bouquet have very special meanings for us – I’ll write about that another time – we picked the flowers with our florist – she said grooms hardly ever come to meet her – and she says it’s a shame. I’ll write another time how to work with a florist to choose a bouquet and flowers for your special occasion.   There’s eucalyptus, the lilac rose is the same colour as ones in my wonderful sister in laws garden in Australia – and lavender there’s always lavender 🙂

groom in a grey suit with wife in purple flower wedding dress walking on the grass in a garden

with my husband at Abbeywood Estate Cheshire, September 2017 – Photo by Sara Porter Photography

My wedding dress and headpiece were made for me by the awesome Rachel and Charlotte at Legend Bridal in Great Harwood Lancashire.  They are truly wonderful people and interpreted just what I wanted – a ‘posh, party dress I could wear again’ to perfection – and I felt like a Queen 🙂 I hope to write more about the process of working with them soon.

me sitting on bench in my purple floral wedding dress

We got married at Abbeywood Estate in Cheshire

I could write so much about my wonderful husband but I’ll just say ‘I love him mind, body and spirit’ and the day he burst into my life, things changed for the better, forever.


Reflecting on everything that’s happened this year and last, I’m reminded;

Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, twirl the dress, wear the shoes, eat cake, drink gin, go adventures with those you love’

This is why I write ‘Carpe Diem’ to signoff my posts.


Do you have a favourite flower? I know that’s a tricky one for my gardening readers – especially as your favourite isn’t even a flower you can even grow in your own garden 😉 

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xxx xxx