It’s been a windy and cold in Manchester this week. There’s still some summer flowers hanging on, but mostly it’s full-on autumn colours reds, orange and yellow. I’ve not been out in the garden to do any jobs as the weather has been foul. Planting tulips in pots in the porch have been my main focus this week. Also, I’ve been busy crafting felt poppies for my Remembrance Day Poppy Door Wreath.
There are many poppies too – as there should be at this time of year. There are some stunning installations near Churches and memorials, in parks and in railway stations. Our WI sent poppies to one of our sister groups out in a small village in Lancashire who was making felt and wool poppy wreaths for their war memorial – I made 16 felt poppies.
This is one of two standard viburnum trees that came as a wedding gift to us last year; they were in full bloom for our wedding in September 2017. Since then – they’ve flowered at very random times – I think the very cold weather in March and boiling heat in June/July has confused the plants. They’ve been re-potted so I hope they survive the winter OK.
I don’t know the variety, as M and S didn’t admit it. I’ll take some bud photos next time it’s sunny to help me identify it – no scent though.
Do my gardening pals have any ideas what variety it might be?
To Dwell is to Garden – Martin Heidegger, (1889-1976) German philosopher
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Physicist and Nobel Prize winner for General Theory of Relativity
With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment – Nhat Hanh (1926 – he’s 91!), Buddhist Monk
For me, Gardening is mindful, being in the moment. It doesn’t have to be me ‘doing’ things, it’s about the scents, the rustle of leaves, the birds, the hum of lawn movers in the distance. For me, when I’m in the garden, I’m in the moment – I find watering, deadheading and weeding relaxing – and planting too. For me, it’s about peace and recharging.
About my garden
It’s small, it’s rubbly soil and north facing; the neighbours have huge conifers, which make it even shadier at the end of the garden.
I love it – our small, sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the world
I’m content in the garden.
Before I bought my house – Summer 2009
In high summer 2016… some of the conifers on the right have gone now – but those on the left are even bigger 🙁
My garden is a work in progress – like me. I’m 51 – I definitely feel I’m in a new chapter with My Chap (my new husband) holding my hand, metaphorically too. To be fair, he does all the digging and heavy work as I have osteoarthritis. It’s a team effort in the garden.
and there’s always time to eat and relax.
Many pots planted (and watered), and always Yoda – any season… Yoda (and Star Wars have appeared many times on this blog).
I love lavender too – it figured very heavily at our wedding in September 2017 (it was our ‘confetti’ too) I have about 20 different plants around the front garden which gets sun all day.
Lavender and a cabbage white butterfly
Many crocuses and violas too. Always something for the birds too.
It’s not all purple flowers though – there’s lots of colour around the garden. Orange and yellow life my mood in Spring. I love tulips too.
Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank, American Botanist
Meanwhile, you’ll find me in the garden, drinking Earl Grey or a Pimms… you’re welcome to join us if you’re in the area 😉
What do you do that’s mindful?
Originally, I wrote about what my garden means for me for the April competition at Cottonopolis Women’s Institute. We were asked to suggest our mindful activities, there was a vast range including knitting/crochet, sewing, baking, art or drawing, listening to music, and a few people like me loved walking or being in the great outdoors.
Our speaker in April was Deb Connor – an all-round star who led some mindfulness exercises and stretches. She’s a trained mindfulness teacher, an acupuncturist and is a vegan too.
I’ve been doing mindfulness for a couple of years now – which combined with over 10 years of yoga has really helped my mental wellbeing. I’ll write about this another time.
Women’s Institute – Cottonopolis WI, Ancoats, Manchester
We have so much fun at WI meetings, in June we made beauty products from lavender, peppermint and coffee skin scrubs.
If you’re local come along…
Let me know in the comments what you do that’s mindful? Do you have a garden? What does it mean to you?
‘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.
Everything is going to work out just fine. Probably – Anonymous
If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’d notice I like quotes nearly as much as I like taking photos, especially of flowers. One of the reasons, I take photos is to keep a record of things, what’s flowered when, whether it’s early or late, beautiful gardens and views, as well as nature in its widest sense. It helps me remember good times, and also reminds me where things are – literally like the bulbs, but also so I don’t have to remember things in my overloaded brain!
This week’s In A Vase on Monday old favourites which have good memories for us, including the vase and something new – the sign 🙂
A standard size Cerise pink dianthus and some pink and white dwarf dianthus.
lilac violas – these were part of our wedding centre pieces.
Fuchsia – this is a hardy one which grows outside our kitchen window – it was in a Vase last week.
The vase is recycled purple glass bought at the Eden Centre in Cornwall. It has appeared before, usually, with sweetpeas. Most recently was July 2016 (blissful), when I wrote about our engagement 🙂
The sign was given to me by a great friend. It also appeared in our wedding centre pieces. You ALL know how much I like being in the garden 🙂
Cathy, who hosts the meme over at Rambling in the Garden, has some stunning orange and white amaryllis this week. I’ve never grown Amaryllis. The idea of IAVOM is to pick, and display, flowers and plants from your garden or locality each Monday. The diversity of vases from across the world is staggering. It’s wonderful to see the Spring across the world in Australia and New Zealand. Just what I need on a freezing cold but sunny day in Manchester.
29 November 2017 – In a Vase on Monday purple vase with dwarf lilac violas, pink dianthus and hardy fuchsia
I take photographs of all sorts of other things too, receipts, recipes, books to read, useful websites, notes I’ve made, etc. I find it easier to have visual records and use journals and lists. I use Trello for electronic lists (I’ll write about that another time) and I’ve got a simple electronic diary shared with My Chap.
Writing things down, taking photos and also help with my planning, wellbeing and making memories, as well as self-care. I’ve tried out bullet journals but it doesn’t work for me; I think it’s the pressure to complete things every day.
So I thought I write about my daily planning and what journals/books I use. They definitely helps me with #365daysofselfare
My daily planning tools – journals, diaries and lists
Calm – CalmtheMind, Changetheworldby Michael Acton Smith
This is a lovely book – it explains mindfulness and meditation in a very straightforward, simple way and gives you ideas for activities in Nature, with Children, Food, Friends, etc. It has quotes and poems too. It’s a pretty book which is why I’m reluctant to write in it 😉
I’ve had it a couple of years, and I dip in and out, using it to inspire activities or self-care depending on what I’m doing. Often, I use the gratitude, highlights and what’s mademefeelcalmtoday? How and note these down in my It’s going to be OK journal.
I don’t use the app associated with Calm; mainly because I’ve never got around to downloading it 🙁 I’m using the Headspace app at the moment, guided meditations on YouTube, and in particular, guided body scans. These connect well with my yoga practice too.
29 November 2017 – Calm Journal, Weekly Planner and It’s Gonna be Okay journal
Stigu Journal – a rest and zest handbook
I’vewrittenaboutStigubefore (including last week) and I’m just starting to fill in my 2018 Stigu. It’s a mixture of a diary and a journal/notebook. Each month has a theme – Reflect is November’s theme. The left page is for notes and suggestions for activities.
This week’s suggestion resonated with me – a puddle reflecting only what’s above it, for example, clouds, and keeping no ‘memory’ of what’s passed. Stigu asks us to imagine what our minds would be like if we could practise this?
Weekly Planner – from Sainsburys!
It has days of the week, notes and to do list. This is where all the detailed, mind dump, boring lists like the shopping! reminders for bills, clothes for yoga, etc are recorded.
It’s Gonna be Okay – An inner truth journal
Asthephotosshow, thishasaquoteononeside, date, WhatI‘mhanginghopeontoday? the prevailingoutlookfortheday. I use this as a reminder of how my days gone, a narrative, notes – what’s gone well what hasn’t. The odd rant too. It’s very much my secret, private thoughts. It has a quote for every day and sometimes I just flick through it looking at the quotes.
29 November 2017 – It’s Gonna be OK journal inside layout
My Stigu journal and It‘sgoingtobeOKjournal also helps me record my symptoms too. I don’t really use paper symptom or habit trackers – pressure to fill in boxes (or not fill them in!). They’re a prompt to monitor my arthritis symptoms in a health app. I was part of a citizen scientist project, in 2017, called Cloudy with a Chance of Pain, whichmonitoredthe impact of the weather on arthritis and pain symptoms. The full results should be out next year.
So for my #365daysofselfcare today, I went for a walk around Monton. It was freezing, but sunny skies and I wandered around taking photos. I’m very grateful to live where I do, close to woods and a canal, yet only six miles to the centre of Manchester.
My self care plans this week include walking more and more gardening – #OneHourOutside and #bekind too
Do you use journals or diaries? Do you use them for self-care or recording gratitude / positive events? Let me know in the comments or any suggestions you have
The weather has been very wild, wet and windy here in Salford for the last few weeks. It’s been very mild so it’s rained ALOT and confused all the flowers. The River Irwell flooded on Boxing Day, in Kersley and Lower Broughton elsewhere in Salford (only a couple of miles from me) wrecking Christmas for hundreds; the clean up and repairs are still going on. Hebden Bridge, home to qwirky, independent businesses was flooded yet again, Todmorden just down the river in Calderdale. Cumbria and York, even though more flood defenses have been built. Good friends of mine in Scotland were flooded out in mid December, when the River Forth burst its banks in Stirling – their house is a real mess. Thousands of homes, businesses, schools, churches and other public buildings wreaked. I really feel for everyone affected and I’ve been doing my bit to help. Climate change is happening for sure.
Pelagoniums, primula and viola 17 January 2016
It’s been incredibly mild here since the autumn – between 9 and 15C most of the time. Only one even vaguely frosty morning. Finally, we had some snow over Saturday night into Sunday morning – the first of the winter – only an inch or so. It lasted into the afternoon before it melted. Many of my friends who live in the hills around Manchester had quite a bit of snow – lots of happy kids sledging and building snowmen. As it’s been so mild many flowers in my garden have continued to flower way longer than they should have (and appeared in vases too) – dahlias into November, fuchsias into December and many of my bedding plants are still flowering a little.
This week, for my ‘In a Vase on Monday’, I went for a hunt around the garden – and I found some tiny flowers lurking. It was very sunny so I took these flowers on Sunday morning.