Tag Archives: Women’s Institute

Halloween Orange Rose – In a Vase on Monday – 29 October 2018

I love roses 🙂 they’re often in vases around the house (from florists).  My Chap often buys bouquets for us.  We only have four rose bushes in our garden – two pink climbing roses, a red patio miniature rose (see below) and this orange beauty in our front garden.   When I moved into my house nine years ago this month, it was in a bit of a sorry state, as it was in desperate need of punning and TLC.  It’s one of the first things My Chap did after he met me was to prune the rose (and install a gate into the garden from the ginnel – AKA alleyway).

The orange rose soon revived – it tends to flower in at least two distinct seasons.  This year it has flowered three times. It has a delicate rose scent too which wafts across the garden path.

In a Vase on Monday – Halloween Orange Rose

This is the last hurrah of the orange rose bush this year 🙂 I can’t believe the range of colours; it is bright orange as a bud fading through to the most stunning sunset colours.

Do any of my gardening pals know what variety it is?

Orange roses have appeared many times in my vases over the last three years – it’s also flowered at some very odd times including in January this year 😉

The bud vase is made from recycled glass; purchased at the Eden Project in Cornwall.  It has appeared a few times too:

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The print is part of a series covering different animals representing different names for the moons.  The Autumn print is a Beaver; the Autumn moons are Corn moon, Hunter’s moon and Beaver moon.

The summer print will need to wait until next year 😉

As usual, I am joining in with Cathy from Rambling in the Garden who’s written about the history of All Saints Day and Halloween.  She has some glorious dahlias on their last hurrah too, before the frosts hit and the plants die off.   Cathy also has pumpkins with her vase which reminded me of a pumpkin flower arrangement I made a couple of years ago.

Pumpkin Flower Arrangement

Here’s something different for Halloween.  I’ve been on two flower arranging courses at Denman College in Oxfordshire.  It’s the Educational College for the Women’s Institute.

In October 2016 I was there for the weekend learning different styles of flower arrangements.  I learnt how to use a pumpkin as a ‘vase’. This arrangement has a block of oasis and it’s just a case placing the flowers as if making a round arrangement. For the arrangement, I used:

  • chrysanthemum
  • sea holly
  • rosemary
  • Callicarpa – beauty berry
  • choysia – this is a variegated one
  • poppy seed heads, pine cones and ivy

I’ve been far too busy to attempt this type of arrangement this Autumn – but I have unearthed my terracotta carved pumpkin for the porch.

Making a door wreath

This photo has also reminded me to make an Autumn door wreath – there’s a wreath ring around the bottom of the pumpkin on the plate. It is decorated with fluffy wool, pine cones, seedheads and ivy.   It’s a straightforward wreath to make and most of the elements are around in the woods or my garden.  I’ve put it on my list to make a door wreath this weekend 🙂

Here’s my tutor Christine’s arrangement – Stunning isn’t it?

My Denman Tutor – Christine Pearce’s arrangement featuring a broom and cobwebs too.

I learnt so much from Christine at my two visits to Denman.  You can see her work and book for courses via:

I wanted to tell what a great tutor she is – this isn’t a sponsored post and she hasn’t asked me to write about her or do a good review. 

Denman College – part of the Women’s Institute

I’ve written a few times about how much I have loved my visits to Denman. I’ve been on three weekend trips. Two to do flower arranging and last month, a mother and daughter weekend.

You can find out more about the courses at Denman – anyone can go, male, female and you don’t need to be a member of the Women’s Institute.

*****

The clock’s changing, the darker nights and Halloween make me reflect on what

When autumn darkness falls, what we will remember are the small acts of kindness: a cake, a hug, an invitation to talk, and every single rose. These are all expressions of a nation coming together and caring about its people.
Jens Stoltenberg (1959 – )  the Norwegian Director General of NATO since 2014 – he was previously Prime Minister of Norway.  

Jens words resonate with me – I try to #bekind – and be in the moment.  My daily mindfulness activities are going well. I’m also walking or spending time outside for at least an hour each day.  

*****

what do you have planned for Halloween? Have you seen any unusual Halloween decorations? Manchester has huge monsters on top of buildings – have a look on my Instagram for more photos

Carpe Diem,

Love Bec xxx xxx

 

pink flat daisy style flower dark leaves

Denman College Women’s Institute – Six on Saturday – 13 10 18

I’ve been down south to Oxfordshire, for a crafting weekend with my mum. We are both members of the Women’s Institute (motto – inspiring women!) her in a small town in Berkshire and me in a new Institute in the centre of Manchester (www.cottonopoliswi.com). I’d seen on an email about a ‘mothers and daughters’ weekend at the Denman College, the WI’s education centre in Oxfordshire, and asked my Mum if she wanted to join me. It’s a lovely place to spend the weekend – and the food is great too. I had a lot of fun learning new skills – and meeting new people – it’s a packed schedule as youre on the go from breakfast at 745am until the entertainments finish about 930pm.

Denman was founded in 1948 – it’s played a big part in teaching women (and men) skills and is an important part of the history of the Women’s Institute. The main building is listed – and running costs are high so we’ll see if this remains part of the Institute’s activities in the future. Member’s come from all over the country, often funded by bursaries.

1. Denman – a mini-mansion

We didn’t stay in the mansion though some people do. Instead, there are mini blocks in the grounds with well-appointed ensuite rooms much like those on University Campuses.

A slightly wonky sundial

2. Borders 😉

Always good to name your borders 😉

3. Dahlias everywhere

These are my favourite types of dahlias – I’ve grown the various ‘bishop’ colours before but all my dahlias struggled this year despite the hot weather in June/July – it should have suited them as they originate in Mexico.

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bec on a beach in australia

BlogOn Introduce Yourself – why I go to Blogging conferences

In a couple of weeks, I’m off to a blogging conference run by the team at BlogOn (BlogOnuk.com) – it’s only down the road at Hotel Football, in Old Trafford, in Manchester – about three miles from my house.

I’d heard about these conferences which have been held twice a year since 2013 – everyone said how great it was. I went to one of their Conferences in May; it was really well run and very useful. I learnt so much that day, especially about photography and editing It was lovely to meet people I’ve known on Twitter/ Instagram face to face too.

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In a Vase on Monday – tea and Earl Grey and lemon biscuit recipe

I’ve been drinking even more Earl Grey tea (without milk) than usual as it’s been so hot.  This reminded me of my former boss who liked Earl grey too. It was Canada Day last week (1st July). celebrating the foundation of the nation in 1867 – it reminded me to look out a vase my former boss Bonnie gave me a few years ago.  The connection is she is Canadian, and the vase was has a famous Canadian landmark on it.  I have to admit I looked it up, as I’d forgotten it’s called the CN Tower in Toronto (553 metres 1815 feet high). It’s the ninth highest free-standing building in the world.  The vase is abstract and not to scale 😉

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Lisianthus, lavender, chive – In a Vase on Monday

For my vase, I picked lisianthus, lavender and a chive flower.  I am really surprised I’ve managed to keep the lisianthus alive and thriving. But, their common name gives it away prairie gentian, it’s very happy in my front garden.

The Brits reading this blog will know that temperatures have been over 25 degrees for over 2 months, and only two small rain showers here in Manchester.  The huge moorland fires at Winter Hill near Bolton and at Dovestones, near Oldham are only a few miles away – the acrid smoke smell hung across the city centre for a couple of days.  The firefighters, Mountain Rescue and the Army still dampening down the peat.  Grim.  I’ve been watering the pots and key parts of the garden every night – luckily I find watering plants very restful and mindful.  I’d really like some overnight rain though.

Please have a look at Rambling in the Garden hosted by Cathy where people from around the world post their links of the flowers and plants they’ve picked from their gardens.  She has a riot of purple this week – inspiring for me as I love purple plants in the garden.

I think I’ve written a couple of times about Bonnie on my blog. She was a huge mentor in my career, and I often think ‘what would Bonnie do?‘ She has a brain the size of the universe. but is always kind, helpful and supportive to everyone she worked with whatever their role and expertise.  She’s still missed around work; she’s happily retired now, walking the hills of Yorkshire and bird watching.  I mentioned her in this blog:

Tea tasting with Cottonopolis WI – July 2018

We had a great meeting hearing all about tea – and tasting some awesome brews.  Marcy from Parched Tea in Manchester came to speak at our meeting; we do our best to support local business and charities.  As well as selling quality black and green teas, she has developed teas for Manchester central library and the Bronte museum in Haworth.

20180703_192535She even has a kettle that has different temperatures – green teas prefer 70 degrees not 100 degrees unlike black teas, like oolong.

I don’t think I’ve written much about my tea drinking on the blog. I love earl grey, lady greys sunshine greys, Empress grey, in fact, most gunpower teas – all drunk black.  I think you might see a theme here – I’m lactose intolerant (I found out over 30 years ago).  My Chap loves strong builders tea with minimal milk – strong enough to stand a spoon in 😉

Our competition this month was to make something flavoured with tea or coffee. I decided on earl grey biscuits, as they’re simple to make.

Earl Grey and Lemon Biscuits Recipe

Here’s the recipe – it’s adapted from an American one so it uses cups – Canadians tend to use cup measurements too.  I adapted it a bit as I couldn’t find the vanilla extract.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) demerara sugar
  • 1 cup (220 grams) Butter
  • 2 cups  plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • about 10 drops of lemon juice (either fresh or bottled) or vanilla extract – according to taste.
  • 1tsp water to help bind the dough
  • 2 Earl Grey teabags – finer the leaves the better.

Notes

  • I used M&S Empress Grey as one of my favourites. Bagged tea is finer so it is better than loose tea for the dough mixture. You could grind loose tea in a pestle and mortar.
  • leaving the dough to cool in the fridge will help the tea infuse into the mixture too.

Method – takes about half an hour

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C or 350­°F.
  2. Mix caster sugar and demerara sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Add in flour, salt, and tea leaves.
  4. Continue to mix until a soft dough forms – it will be flaky and lumpy but
  5. Roll dough into a long sausage shape on parchment paper.
  6. Chill in the fridge for about half an hour rolled
  7. Cut into 3cm thick round shapes and place on baking tray.
  8. OR you can roll out about 3cm thick and cut with a round biscuit cutter.
  9. Bake on a parchment paper on a baking tray for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Amazing – I won! and all the biscuits were eaten – they didn’t look like much but the definitely tasted nice.   There were only three entries though as everyone had been really busy.  Not the best picture as they disappeared so quickly.  I’ll definitely make them again.

biscuits 3

Cottonopolis WI – Ancoats, Manchester

meet on the first Tuesday of the month from 730pm at Halle St Michael’s on George Leigh Street, Ancoats Manchester.   Our next meeting is on 7th August when we will be going on a history walk around Ancoats and a quiz.  Visitors always welcome and we’ll have cake.  We’re a friendly bunch.

*****

Are you doing any baking this week? or is it just TOO hot?  I’ll be spending time in the garden, when I’m not watching the tennis, and watering pots in the evening.  I’m going on a couple of courses this week, so I’ll report back on that soon. 

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx xx xx

 

In a Vase on Monday – tea and lemon and earl grey biscuit recipe

Since it’s been so hot I’ve been drinking even more Earl Grey Tea (without milk) than usual.  This reminded me of my former boss who drank it too.  It was Canada Day last week (1st July). celebrating the foundation of the nation in 1867 – it reminded me to look out a vase my former boss Bonnie gave me a few years ago.  The connection is she is Canadian, and the vase was has a famous Canadian landmark on it.  I have to admit I looked it up, as I’d forgotten it’s called the CN Tower in Toronto (553 metres 1815 feet high). It’s the ninth highest free-standing building in the world.  The vase is abstract and not to scale 😉

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

For my vase, I picked lisianthus, lavender and a chive flower.  I am really surprised I’ve managed to keep the lisianthus alive and thriving. But, their common name gives it away prairie gentian, it’s very happy in my front garden.

The Brits reading this blog, will know that temperatures have been over 25 degrees for over 2 months, and only two small rain showers here in Manchester.  The huge moorland fires at Winter Hill near Bolton and at Dovestones, near Oldham are only a few miles away – the acrid smoke smell hung across the city centre for a couple of days.  The firefighters, Mountain Rescue and the Army still dampening down the peat.  Grim.  I’ve been watering the pots and key parts of the garden every night – luckily I find watering plants very restful and mindful.  I’d really like some overnight rain though.

Please have a look at Rambling in the Garden hosted by Cathy where people from around the world post their links of the flowers and plants they’ve picked from their gardens.  She has a riot of purple this week – inspiring for me as I love purple plants in the garden.

I think I’ve written a couple of times about Bonnie on my blog. She was a huge mentor in my career, and I often think ‘what would Bonnie do?‘ She has a brain the size of the universe. but is always kind, helpful and supportive to everyone she worked with whatever their role and expertise.  She’s still missed around work; she’s happily retired now, walking the hills of Yorkshire and bird watching.  I mentioned her in this blog:

Tea tasting with Cottonopolis WI – July 2018

We had a great meeting hearing all about tea – and tasting some awesome brews.  Marcy from Parched Tea in Manchester came to speak at our meeting; we do our best to support local business and charities.  As well as selling quality black and green teas, she has developed teas for Manchester central library and the Bronte museum in Haworth.

20180703_192535She even has a kettle that has different temperatures – green teas prefer 70 degrees not 100 degrees unlike black teas, like oolong.

I don’t think I’ve written much about my tea drinking on the blog. I love earl grey, lady greys sunshine greys, Empress grey, in fact, most gunpower teas – all drunk black.  I think you might see a theme here – I’m lactose intolerant (I found out over 30 years ago).  My Chap loves strong builders tea with minimal milk – strong enough to stand a spoon in 😉

Our competition this month was to make something flavoured with tea or coffee. I decided on earl grey biscuits, as they’re simple to make.

Earl Grey and Lemon Biscuit Recipe

Here’s the recipe – it’s adapted from an American one so it uses cups – Canadians tend to use cup measurements too.  I adapted it a bit as I couldn’t find the vanilla extract.

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) demerara sugar
  • 1 cup (220 grams) Butter
  • 2 cups  plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • about 10 drops of lemon juice (either fresh or bottled) or vanilla extract – according to taste.
  • 1tsp water to help bind the dough
  • 2 Earl Grey teabags – finer the leaves the better.

Notes

  • I used M&S Empress Grey as one of my favourites. Bagged tea is finer so it is better than loose tea for the dough mixture. You could grind loose tea in a pestle and mortar.
  • leaving the dough to cool in the fridge will help the tea infuse into the mixture too.

Method – takes about half an hour

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C or 350­°F.
  2. Mix caster sugar and demerara sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Add in flour, salt, and tea leaves.
  4. Continue to mix until a soft dough forms – it will be flaky and lumpy but
  5. Roll dough into a long sausage shape on parchment paper.
  6. Chill in the fridge for about half an hour rolled
  7. Cut into 3cm thick round shapes and place on baking tray.
  8. OR you can roll out about 3cm thick and cut with a round biscuit cutter.
  9. Bake on a parchment paper on a baking tray for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Amazing – I won! and all the biscuits were eaten – they didn’t look like much but the definitely tasted nice.   There were only three entries though as everyone had been really busy.  Not the best picture as they disappeared so quickly.  I’ll definitely make them again.

earl grey and lemon biscuits

earl grey and lemon biscuits

Cottonopolis WI, Ancoats, Manchester

We meet on the first Tuesday of the month from 730pm at Halle St Michael’s on George Leigh Street, Ancoats Manchester.   Our next meeting is on 7th August when we will be going on a history walk around Ancoats and a quiz.  Visitors always welcome and we’ll have cake.  We’re a friendly bunch.

*****

Are you doing any baking this week? or is it just TOO hot?  I’ll be spending time in the garden when I’m not watching the tennis and watering pots in the evening.  I’m going on a couple of courses this week, so I’ll report back on that soon. 

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx xx xx