He’s got some beautiful clematis, petunias, cyclamen and a yellow potentilla this week. He lives in Reading, Berkshire close enough to hear the music from the weekend festival – his teenagers are at the festival but likely to be raiding the fridge and using the showers. This really took me back as I went to school in Reading and often listened to the ‘sets’ from friends’ gardens. It was a heavy rock festival then (1970s/1980s). I’ve been now and again since then but the last time was 2007 – the band’s appearing there for the last few years haven’t been our music taste. We still go to gigs in Manchester often 🙂 Continue reading →
I’ve been thinking about blessings alot this Christmas One of my favourite Christmas songs is the duet between the mighty very missed David and Bing – The Little Dummer Boy. Though, I don’t consider Christmas season has started until I hear Fairytaleof New York.
We have music on most of the time when we are in the house. We’ve got modern Christmas songs at the moment, as we’ve been opening presents, reading cookbooks and drinking coffee. My Chap is reading Lisbon and I’m reading Nigel Slater’s Christmas Chronicles. I think I might be writing about food more on the blog next year – My Chap says he’s going to bake more too.
In my Vase
For my Vase today, I have snowberry from a neighbour’s hedge (I love living in #Monton), some curry plant leaves (as food is integral to our Christmas and life), the Son of Tom hardy fuchsia by the kitchen window (#fuchsias a long time love), bamboo which came in a pot from My Chap’s garden when he moved in with me, and some sticks (red) from the one of the few shrubs in our garden when I got moved in. I’d never noticed before how red the bark is, as it’s usually pruned before now. It’s a bit of a mishmash but that’s a bit like life, isn’t it? We become sum of all the parts.
25 December 2017 – In a Vase on Monday – snowberry, fuchsia, bamboo
Cathy over at Rambling in the Garden has bright red Cornus around a candle, on a bed of pine cones and rose hips. Very festive – do have a look at the ‘vases’ from around the world added by the #IAVOM team, they’re added at the bottom of Cathy’s posts every week. These flowers have lifted my soul in the dark times. Thank you, everyone 🙂
Cathy will probably fall off her chair in shock when I post my link as I’m on the right day! I’m usually at least a day late!
So Merry Christmas to all my readers, especially all the In A Vase on Monday gardening bloggers from all around the world – may your gardens’ grow well in the direction you want with few pests (especially slugs!) 🙂
… Mayyourdays, bemerryandbright… White Christmas (composed by Irving Berlin in 1942)
So let’s have merry and bright days, not just at Christmas but every day. It’s the little things, that make the memories.
So, especially today, I am thinking of all those no longer with us; my darling, unforgettable brother Matt, my wonderful Dad Jay, the man mountain Steve, and the force of Nature, Uncle Fred. All loved cooking and often made turkey curry on Boxing Day :-. My Husband does that too 🙂 I’ve written about them before at Christmas and will write about them again, I’m sure.
Bright memories – Forever in my heart xx xx xx
25 December 2017 – Yoda loves Christmas too
I loved ‘The Last Jedi’, it‘s complex, dark and funny. Leia, Luke and Rey showing the way (and yoda too).
‘Maytheforcebewithyou’ – StarWarsI–VII (1977 –?)
The sun is shining, so my Husband and I are off for a walk, along the Bridgewater Canal, holding hands as usual 🙂 #365daysofselfcare
Today’s photo on Instagram for #blurtmerrycalmness. Day 25: CONNECT – thinking about all our friends and family from around the world who came to celebrate our wedding in September with us 🙂 It was a wonderful day 🙂
It’s been glorious weather for most of the week here in Manchester, I’ve managed to get out in the garden every day, even if it was just to water things. It’s been bone dry and both our waterbutts are empty. Thinking about happiness and gratitude this week I could, of course, show you a picture of plants in my garden, as that always makes me happy. Likewise, My Chap lights up my life :-). But, this would be a bit of a cop-out for a weekly gratitude post, so I think I’ll feature them on special occasions only.
1. Choosing music for our wedding
We aren’t having a DJ at our wedding, instead, we are going to have a digital playlist. We spent a happy Saturday night in listening to tunes old and new – and thank goodness for digital download sites. We’re going to have lots of different playlists for different parts of the day. The tunes is going to reflect our somewhat ‘eclectic’ music tastes. Lots of indie classics too.
2. Lost a stone
12 May 2017 – slimming world one stone award and book
Given everything that’s been happening since Christmas, I’m really pleased to have managed to lose some weight, without going nuts on a silly diet. I’m fortunate to go to supportive groups and have a great consultant who’s a really good cook. Ive got no number in my mind, just to fit into smaller jeans, help my arthritis pain and not look frumpy in my wedding dress. Onwards and downwards 🙂
3. Rock and Roll Bride magazine arrived
12 May 2017 – Rock and Roll Bride magazines
As I mentioned before ours is a very unconventional wedding, I was a bit lost looking for inspiration in the wedding magazines – all stick thin, 20-somethings with huge flouncy, sparkly, strapless, ivory flocks – and everything very expensive. None of it was what My Chap and I wanted for our day. We had very clear ideas about what we wanted, and what we didn’t, but didn’t know how to find suppliers apart from trawling the Internet…
Then I spied a magazine front with a lady in a gold dress and her husband in tweed – both with plenty of tattoos – so I found Rock and Roll Bride www.rocknrollbride.com/ – a blog, and the ‘most’ supportive Facebook group – lovely, helpful and kind people. Diversity at its best 🙂
So I would say Have the wedding you and your partner want 🙂 Although, it’s a lot easier when you’re paying for everything yourselves 🙂
4. A barbecue at a friend’s house
17 May 2017 – fire pit made from a washing machine drum
My Chap and I went to a lovely barbecue/house warming at friends we know from mountain biking and running. My Chap ran man v mountain with the chap last year and has mountain biked with them all over the Lake District, Pennines and Peak District. Ive eaten alot of cake and gone on plenty of walks in beautiful locations. We caught up with lots of friends which was lovely. The host M is a very handy, he made the firepit from an old washing machine drum.
5. New shoes – my first ever Irregular Choice
17 May 2017 – my first ever pair of Irregular Choice shoes – for my wedding
I’ve bought my first ever pair of Irregular Choice shoes – no sneaky peeks as they’re for my wedding outfit. They are absolutely beautiful and so comfortable. I don’t really do heels either so these are perfect. My Chap loves them and encouraged me to buy another pair for ‘going out’ 🙂 This could be an expensive pastime.
My awesome wedding shoes – purple floral candy whistles by Irregular Choice.
Remember life isn’t a dress rehearsal – wear the shoes, go on an adventure, just do it.
How has your week been? And what have you been grateful for?
Love Bec xxx
This post covers week Friday 5th May to Thursday 11th May 2017
An update on my #100happydays challenge – http://100happydays.com/ from last month. In mid October, I went back to my normal life after a lovely week in Lisbon – and it was eclectic. Some gardening, music, good food with friends and visiting the Victoria Baths in Fallowfield, Manchester.
birthday meal in Smiths (14/100), fushias in my garden (15/100), editors tickets (16/100), lunch with my pal E (17/100) #100happydays
14/100 – Our birthday meal in Smiths, Eccles My birthday and my chap’s birthday are a week apark – no pressure then when it comes to presents and celebrating 🙂 We went for a lovely meal at Smith’s in Eccles; it’s a bistro style restaurant with an excellent, ever changing seasonal menu. It’s an Eccles institution and I’ve been going for at least 18 years. It was a great meal as usual, the bubbly was just lovely. I had some fish – what a surprise 😉
15/100 – fuchsias in the garden – mid October 2015 The fuchsias are STILL flowering in my garden (and it’s mid November when I write this post) both the tender and hardy ones. We are having very odd weather this Autumn, it’s been 12/16 degrees most days/most of October and November so lots of the summer bedding plants are still flowering away. I love fuchsias – When I was a child they always reminded me of ballerinas. My mother always had a lot of fuchsias on her patio both hardy and tender. She’s still got plenty and she’s bought us quite a few over the six years I’ve lived in my house. I’ve got a huge relative of ‘tom thumb’ outside my kitchen window which reminds me of the lanes of West Ireland which have miles of tall fuchsia bushes. I’m surprised fuchsias aren’t in ‘My in a vase on Monday’ more often – I think it might be because I’ve not got the right vases. There is time yet this year though 🙂 Continue reading →
An update on my #100happydays challenge – http://100happydays.com/ from last month. It’s all about our holiday to Lisbon.
Lisbon is a wonderful city with a very long history, the sea, great views and suburb food; There’s loads to do including visiting art galleries. museums and castles. It’s easy to get around with trams and metros which is handy as it has ALOT of hills but the view are amazing. There are many miradors (viewpoints) around the city. There were many beautiful parks; huge hibiscus and lemon trees in front gardens too. I know we will visit again.
Lisbon guide (6/100), fish stew (7/100), tram (8/100), wine at the castle (9/100) #100happydays
6/100 – Off to Lisbon
We wanted to visit a European city with a direct flight from Manchester with a lot of history, culture and good food. A bonus – if it was by the sea and some sunshine – given it was October. We’d never been to Lisbon so that fitted the bill 🙂
We found a great apartment in a 1930s modernist building, via Housetrip (www.housetrip.com) near the University. It was wonderful to live among the locals, use the local shops and practise our Portuguese 🙂 and there was a metro stop 5 mins away. The weather was grim the first day, very wet because there was an Atlantic storm going over. It was overcast a lot of the week but warm. The locals kept apologising for the weather which made us smile – warmer and drier than Manchester for sure.
7/100 – fish stew
Portuguese food is just lovely – alot of fish, Mediterranean and spices. Portugal was a huge sea power in 15/16th Centuries and owned most of South America, Indonesia and Macau too. It has a big fishing industry and your tinned sardines have almost certainly come via Portugal. There was a sardine shop in Lisbon – just tinned sardines 🙂
My chap ate a pastel-de-nata (Portuguese custard tart) every day – I had fish every day. I’ve got a long list of fish species in Portuguese now. It’s always an adventure ordering fish abroad, as you’re not always sure what will arrive on the plate.
And I haven’t even mentioned Port 🙂
8/100 – tram from Belém to Lisbon
Belém was the gateway to Lisbon and protected the entrance of the River Tagus. It is well worth a visit especially as it’s the home of the The Torre de Belém, the symbol of Lisbon (and a world heritage site). This is a square tower which would have been accessed by boat; about 50 feet from the shoreline. It was built in 1514 in the middle of the river. Until the Lisbon earthquake in 1755 changed the course of the river, thousands died and many of the magnificent buildings were destroyed.
The caravels (ships) left from Belém in the 16th century to discover the West Indies, South America and the Far East. In 1960 ,a 50 metre monument, in the shape of a carvel, was built to celebrate 500 years since the death of King Henry the Navigator. He’s at the front facing the sea, with huge stylised statues of famous Portuguese including Vasco de Gama. It has stunning views from the top (and a lift).
Elsewhere in Belém, there’s the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (the monestery is a world heritage site) and many art galleries. It’s also the home of Pastéis de Belem which is where the pastel de nata was invented in the 1830s.
9/100 – Wine with a view – Castle de Sao Jorge, Lisbon
A fascinating place to visit, originally a moorish castle in the 1100s (though the Romans were there first, as you’d expect). It has been in continuous habitation since then, the Portuguese Royal family lived there in 18/19th century. It’s a huge site, with extensive ramparts and the views from the castle are stunning – I took a day and night shot. We spent a very happy hour or so drinking Portuguese wine on the ramparts over looking the city – it didn’t close until 9pm. It’s a real shame that the we don’t do the same here.
Castle de Pena (10/100), don’t panic (11/100), funicular railway (12/100), bed rest (13/100) #100happydays
10/100 Palace de Pena, Sintra
There should be two #100happydays photos because we visited two wonderful castles in Sintra – the national palace and palace de pena – I chose pena because it reminded me of castle neuwanstein which we visited in January when my brother and family were over from Australia. This photograph was taken as the sun was setting, it was truly magical. We were the last people to leave, the Portuguese bus drivers waited for us too. It’s an easy trip on the train from Lisbon and there’s a circular bus to get to all the sites – don’t walk as it’s very, very hilly.
Sintra is a world heritage site and also has a Moorish caste on the top of the hill and many beautiful gardens. We only scratched the surface of what’s there. We could probably spend a week looking around. We’ll be back there too.
Pottered around the parks of Lisbon but the best thing was a brilliant covers band in Baixo Alto. Their tip box made me laugh – yes they were hitchhikers fans. We listened to some fado too but it was very melancholy, which was a bit much for me in my current mood.
12/100 – Bica funicular railway (Ascensor)
The Bica funicular climbs from Rua da Bica for 245 metres from the Rua S. Paulo, near Santos, to the Calhariz district (Rua do Loreto). We went down the hill in a beautiful wooden panelled carriage which fits about 25 people. It was built in 1892 and is a national monument.
The lower station of this funicular is almost hidden behind a façade on the Rua de S. Paulo with the inscription ‘Ascensor da Bica’. My chap and I walked past the bottom station twice, because it was covered in plastic sheeting 🙂 There are three funicular railways, and we went on all of them, and two elevators.
Trips on elevators, funicular railways and more views across the city – with churches, the sea, castles great food and a mojitos too.
Lisbon is just an amazing place and it’s people are wonderful too.
13/100 – Bed Rest
The 430am start to get the plane did me in so it was an early night. It was lovely to be home too.