Saturday, 16 June 2018


Good Morning to you,

I love looking out into the garden on a morning, because I never quite know what will catch my attention.

For instance, on Wednesday, I was sat quietly in the conservatory, when I  heard a noisy, squawking sound  above my head. I thought a bird had caught its foot in the roof of the conservatory and could not free itself.

I leapt from my chair to take a look, but  I soon realised that I was completely wrong, the bird on the roof had not hurt itself, in actual fact it was not 1 bird making a noise, but 2 young magpies, doing a merry dance on my roof. The magpies were having difficulty standing on the roof and instead of giving up and flying away to something more suitable, they decided they would peck each other and squawk at each other.

After a few seconds of furious squawking and pecking, they realised this was not going to work, so they decided to fly away, but  not very far, one decided to fly just as far as our garden shed.

.... and this is where the fun began.  The garden shed door was open and George had hung our garden broom on the door.  That in itself is not very strange, but what followed was perhaps not strange, but it was fascinating to watch.

The young magpie which decided to stay in the garden, flew to the top of the shed. Instinctively it knew it had to look for something, but I don't think he knew quite what, as he kept tapping his beak on the side of the shed. He continued pecking, that is until his eye was caught by something more interesting....  the garden broom hanging on the door.  

The magpie stopped pecking and  decided the broom was worth a little investigation.  He made his way to the top of the door, by which time the broom began to move in the wind. This stopped him in his tracks and he continued to sit on the top of the door, watching the garden broom swing from side to side.  He then decided to spread his wings and practically jumped onto the broom, which of course then swayed a great deal more, but he held his own and managed to stay on the swinging broom. He looked this way and that and couldn't make head nor tail of what he was perched on, so he decided to give the broom a peck, after all it might turn out to be something nice to eat. He must have pecked the broom quite hard because a few bristles appeared in his beak.  He didn't like the bristles so he opened his beak and the bristles fell to the ground, but he obviously thought the broom was worth further investigation, so he continued pecking. This was one determined little magpie, he was not going to give up on his new interest.

I called George to watch what was unfolding in front of me and we both watched, completely fascinated by this bird.  The magpie was determined to have his way..... it was as if he needed to remove every single bristle from the broom.  More bristles appeared in his beak and again the bristles fell to the ground whilst he continued swaying on the broom. At which point George said, 'Enough is enough', at this rate there will not be a bristle left in the broom'.  So George went into the garden, thinking that would be enough to make the magpie fly away.... but George was mistaken. The magpie stopped pecking for a moment, looked up at George, as if to say, if you think your getting this broom, you are sadly mistaken. He then lowered his head and continued pecking the broom.

George thought what a mischievous little bird, so he clapped his hands and the magpie flew to the fence, all the while watching George, waiting to see what he was going to do.

George did the only thing he could, and that was to close the shed door, because he thought the little magpie was not going to give up and if he left the door open, he knew the minute his back was turned, the magpie would return to investigate the broom.

So the door was closed and George walked back into the house.  When we looked out of the window, the magpie had not moved, he sat waiting.  Well that was until his brother or sister arrived and they returned to the game they were previously playing. The screeching began and all thoughts of the broom were completely gone.

.... that is until the next time the shed door is left open. I have a feeling the little magpie will return to pay us another visit.

So with my back door firmly shut, against unwanted visitors, it is time to share with you,

a very simple, but enjoyable carrot and orange salad, which is perfect on a hot summers day.

So it's on with my pinnie and time to organise the ingredients.


6 medium sized carrots
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove of garlic ~ crushed with salt
1 tablespoon of grated orange zest
1 orange ~ juiced
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
250 ml vegetable stock
A couple of sprigs of coriander leaves


Peel the carrots
using a potato peeler cut the carrot
into ribbons
and set aside for the moment.

Place the olive oil into a wide pan.

Add the
crushed garlic
orange zest
ground coriander
ground cumin
ground ginger

and cook for 2 minutes

Pour the vegetable stock into the pan
and bring to a simmer.

Simmer until the dressing has reduced by 2/3rds.
This will take approximately 12 to 15 minutes.

Allow the dressing to cool.

Pour the dressing over the ribboned carrots.
Toss until the ribbons are evenly coated.

Add a little chopped coriander and toss again



This is a really easy salad, but one which is full of flavour. Sometimes if I run short of time, I cook a pan of noodles and toss this salad into the drained noodles. A lovely quick and easy lunch.

I did not add salt, because there is a little salt from the crushed garlic, but taste test and if you feel you need to add salt then please do.

Take care and I will catch up with you on Saturday.

I'm just going to see what that little magpie is up to.

As Always,

Sunday, 3 June 2018


Good Morning to you,

Today, on the 3rd June 2012, Ivy, Phyllis and Me! was born. With nervousness, I pressed the Publish key and waited patiently, in the hope, that someone would find my first post interesting.  

I never imagined that 6 years later I would have enjoyed over 270,000 page views. Thank you dear friends, for taking the time, to read and enjoy the words I have written. It is truly appreciated, as to be honest when I had written my first post, I thought that would be that.... but you proved me wrong, to which I am truly grateful.

So on the 6th anniversary of Ivy, Phyllis and Me! I thought it would be fun, to read once again, the very first post which started my friendship with you.

I hope you enjoying reading my words, as much as I enjoyed writing the words.... even though, I freely admit, I was a little nervous.


With Warmest wishes to you.


Today is the first day of my blog.  Am I nervous.....yes, is my stomach churning..... yes, am I worried that no one will read my blog.... yes, BUT, there is an underlying feeling of great excitement!

Who would of thought this day would actually arrive. I have made this excuse and that excuse, actually, every excuse under the sun not to begin, but I had decided, today was the day I would begin my blog. I even told my daughter, to make sure I followed through, but do you know this morning I started to sidetrack, the sun came out and I decided it was more important to plant the last of my summer bulbs, I could have gone on and on finding other things I really must do, but decided enough was enough and that I really had to take myself to task. I made myself a cup of coffee, sat down, opened my computer, and here I am writing my first post! As I write I am feeling more and more excited, so I hope you will enjoy reading my offerings!

Let me introduce you to my late Grandmother Ivy (known as Nanny to the grandchildren), she was a huge influence in my life.  She was a keen cook and baker and a superb knitter. Sadly she passed away many years ago, but her influence remains. That little cutie in the photo is me....oh such a long time ago!

.....and this is my Mother Phyllis as a young mother.  She cooked and baked for us as children, one of the most memorable cakes was a Swiss Roll.  When the sponge cake was cooked and cooled, I was fascinated watching her spread the jam onto the sponge cake, then using baking parchment, she would roll the sponge cake and finally dust with icing sugar ..... delicious!

So with the thought of that mouthwatering cake in your mind, I will leave you and look forward to chatting to you next Sunday, when I will be showing you how to bake that delicious swiss roll.....don't forget your cup of coffee!

                                     Best Wishes from your new friend,

                                   Daphne xxx

Saturday, 2 June 2018


Good Morning to you,

When it comes to my home, I really am a creature of habit.

I am not influenced by the latest trends, because I have found my style and remain happy with it.

.... but every now and again I have a yen for a little change.... and this is one of those moments.

For a little while now, I have been toying with the idea of changing the colours in my conservatory. Nothing too drastic, just a different colour added here and there. Now this will really surprise my daughters, as when it comes to my home, they know I am resistant to change, but they also love the fact, that no matter where George and I live, our home has a familiar feel, with most things remaining the same. So the fact that I want to change something will make them smile.

.... and this thought of change, all started with,

this navy blue ball of wool,

which turned into a crocheted throw. Admittedly with the addition of many more balls of wool, but this was the very first ball of wool which led to the change.  

I had thought about buying a navy throw, but I felt I could save quite a bit of money by making one myself.... thrift is never far from my mind.

I crocheted a large square, so that it could  be folded and draped over the arm of the sofa, but still large enough to use during the winter time.

.... but the throw was a little plain so I decided to add a frill.  Only 1 frill mind, not 3 as I had done before.

.... but there was still something missing, the navy  blue needed lifting. You can probably tell that I am a visual person and  not a planner of projects.  This applies to anything I make. I tend to work on a piece and whilst working, I can see the direction I want to head in.  

I had 2 colours to choose from, should I lift the navy by using mustard or white wool?

I plumped for white wool. I don't think that is much of a surprise.  The minute I added the white, I knew I had made the right choice.

I am thrilled with how this throw is evolving.  I still have a little more to crochet in white, but that will not take me very long.  I just have to wait for this sultry weather to finish.

.... but I discovered a snag.... not a big one, just a cosmetic one.... the current cushions would not go with this new throw.

I had seen some lovely cushions in M&S, but I felt they were a little too pricey.  I also felt sure that I had some suitable material, so I looked through my material cupboard.... and there, I found 2 perfect pieces of material which would look lovely made into cushions.

This first piece of material, I had bought a few months ago, when I went with a friend to Fabric Land  and I loved the feathery design the minute I saw it. In actual fact I had other material in my hand, but that was returned to the shelves in favour of this feathery design.  I had intended using this blue for a quilt, but that has gone by the by, as a cushion will be its final destination.

This 2nd piece of material, I had intended making a pair of culottes.... yes I am a child of the 60s and I still love culottes.  I find them to be so comfortable and a change from wearing trousers.  I thought the culottes would look perfect in the summer worn with a white top.  But once again, that was not to be.

I love the contrast in the design.  There is a slight difference in the colour in this photograph, but actually they compliment each other very well.

The final thing I needed to complete the task, was some navy blue chord, which I discovered left over  from a previous project.... we crafters can usually find what we need, tucked away in our craft cupboards.

Now I wonder, as a contrast cushion, should I try white. No I don't think so, as the sofas are white and they would disappear into the sofa.

How about a bright pink.

What do you think?   

A step too far?


Also I would have to try and convince George that bright pink would work with the blue. George's opinion is important, after all, he also lives in this house.

.... it doesn't matter how I wrap it up, somehow I don't think he will be convinced.

But what I do know is, he will love the new blue and white scheme.

I can't wait to finish the throw and the cushions. I will let you know how I get on at a later date.

Take good care of yourself and I will catch up with you next Saturday.

As Always,

Saturday, 26 May 2018


Good Morning to you,

Are you busy?

Do you have a few minutes to spare? 

I would love it, if you could join me, in a stroll around my garden. 

We have enjoyed so much sunshine in the past few weeks, that the garden is romping away. The change is so dramatic, that I would love to share the changes with you.

For instance,

last time we walked around the garden, these Alliums were tightly formed buds.... and look at them now. They are proud and standing to attention, and the colour purple is beautiful.

.... and the ferns, which were little curls waiting to unfold are now filling their allotted space in the garden.

I am so pleased that this standard lilac, which I created, using a stem, from my father-in-law's lilac tree, has survived the move.  Not as many flowers as I'd hope, but I feel sure, that next year it will be well and truly settled in its new home and in years to come, it will gift me with many flowers.... we gardeners just have to be patient.

I decided to plant my centre piece this week.  The plants are young, but even after a few days, the sunshine has encouraged the flowers to open.  Around the centre piece I have planted lavender, now I grant you, it does look a little bare, but in a couple of years time, the lavender will increase in size and fill the circle.  When planting a new garden, as tempting as it is, to fill every available space, it's best to err on the side of, less is more, to give larger  plants the space they need to grow.

I am so pleased with how the Cypress trees have settled in.   As you can see by the lumpy soil, I have a lot of clay in my garden, which is a bit of a devil to dig, but on a more positive note, the roses loves clay soil.

These Dicentra have travelled very well.  I started with a few bulbs, but they were really slow to increase and I had practically given up hope, but since I have moved house and planted them under the Weilega, they seem much happier.

I really must treat Daphne to a plinth, because where ever I place her, a plant grows, which hides her lovely face.  The weather today is really warm, so as you can see the foxglove is drooping a little.  I have to say I am surprised because we had a lot of rain yesterday afternoon.

Isn't this peony lovely. I had read somewhere, that peonies hate to be moved, well I have to say, this peony didn't seem to mind at all.  Whilst the peony waited to be planted, we made sure we kept it well watered and look at her now, isn't she looking gorgeous. I call her a 'she' because with those big, blousey flowers, I feel this peony, can only be described as a 'she'.

The white bells and blue bells are finishing and the foxgloves and geraniums are taking over.  I am thrilled with this border, as it is exactly how I had imagined it.

.... and finally, my little flute player, needs to be moved a little further forward, otherwise, very shortly, he will be enveloped by the shrub.

I do hope you have enjoyed your stroll around the garden, as I am thrilled with how the garden is evolving.

I am also very proud of both George and I, for what we have achieved in the past year.  When I remember how the garden looked, when we first moved to the house, it is hard to imagine that it is the same garden.... all our hard work is really paying dividends.

.... and what am I doing for the rest of the day.  Well, the sun is shining, so I am going into the garden to hoe those pesky weeds, which are relentless.

So take care and I will catch up with you next Saturday.

As Always,

Saturday, 12 May 2018


Good Morning to you,

Do you feel the year is galloping by? No sooner do I blink and it seems the month has gone, with the month of May being no exception.  Not that it has finished, as it has barely started.... or so I thought. 

You see the month of May has really thrown me into a tizz, because I seem to have lost track of the days. On Sunday I had it in my mind that it was the beginning of May.  I have no idea why, it just was.

I was waiting for my nephew to collect me to go to a family bar-b-que.  I had finished packing pasta salad, 3 bean salad and a plum tart into my basket and I was covering each item with an ice block.... please don't ask me why I wasn't using our ice box.... that is a whole other story, so a basket had to do.

Just as I put the last ice block into the basket, the phone rang and it was my niece, Rue, who, after a little chat, mentioned the reason she was ringing, was to ask, if I had the time to make her mum a chocolate cake for her birthday. Which of course I was pleased to do.   Whilst talking to Rue, I was thinking that I had plenty of time to make the cake as it was not needed until a week Thursday.  Just as I was talking to Rue, my mobile rang, so I ask Rue if she would mind holding on, because I knew it was Gloria ringing.  Gloria mentioned that her son was running late and would be with me in 10 minutes, I thanked her, said I was looking forward to seeing her and put the phone down.  I then had a quick chat to Rue and said I would see her a week Thursday and I never gave it another thought.

Of course George was not privy to this conversation because he was already at Gloria's, helping with the bar-b-que and I had forgotten to mention that Rue had rung.  If he had heard the conversation I feel sure he would have said something earlier.

Anyway, Thursday arrived and I was getting myself ready to go to my new craft group. I said goodbye to George, saying I would see him later in the afternoon.

George said, 'Before you go, I just wondered, did you remember to buy a birthday card for my sister, as we can pop over, to wish her a happy birthday, when you get back.'

To which I replied,'Oh yes, I've bought the birthday card, but I think you have got the date wrong, as it isn't her birthday until next week.'

George gave me a strange look and said, 

'It's not next week, I think you will find, it's today.'

I said, 

'Of course it's not today, it's only the beginning of May'. 

George replied, 

'I think you've got yourself in a bit of a muddle, as today's date is the 10th, check the barometer if you don't believe me.'

I checked and the date read, the 10th, but I wasn't having it, I thought maybe the battery had made the clock run too fast.  So I decided to check my trusty paper calendar.... and there it was, the date was certainly the 10th May, to which I howled, yes honestly, I think it is fair to say, I howled, 

'Oh no, I promised to make a birthday cake for today.'

George asked, 'What birthday cake, I don't remember you mentioning that you would make a cake.'

I replied, 'No you wouldn't know, because you weren't here on Sunday, when Rue rang to ask me to bake a cake... and now I feel awful, because I have mixed up my dates.'

George said, 'I don't know what your getting upset about, why don't you just buy a chocolate cake from the bakery.'

.... and it was as if he had blasphemed.... buy a chocolate cake from the bakery. How could he even suggest such a thing, when I had promised to make one.... I know, I was a tad dramatic.

I said, 'Anyway, I couldn't buy a cake, even if I wanted to, because I have bought all the ingredients, ready to make the chocolate cake.' 

I am smiling to myself, because on reflection, that really doesn't make sense, but my mind tends to fixate on the strangest things when I become stressed.

'Yes, but there is nothing that won't keep'. George continued,  'Seriously, you have arranged to go to your craft group, so there is no time to bake a cake. Make it easy on yourself,  pop to the bakery and buy a cake. I would go but I will probably choose the wrong sort of cake.'

I remained in a 'fizz' for a while, but George gently 'stroked my feathers' and I calmed down. Of course I could see the sense in buying a cake, so I decided I just had to get over myself and not feel I had let my sister-in-law down, by not making the cake myself.

So I went to the bakery and I bought a lovely chocolate cake and we delivered it to my sister in law later in the afternoon.... and guess what, she was over the moon with her surprise.  I apologised to Rue, and she laughed and said she didn't know why I was so upset, to which I replied, that I felt awful because I had promised to bake her mum a cake.

When George relayed the story to the rest of the family, he of course, embellished it quite a bit, which made everyone roll around laughing, saying I was silly to get myself in such a tizz.

.... and of course they were absolutely right.... but it's just the way I am.

So today, on 12th May 2018, we are making the Chocolate Yoghurt Cake, which should have been made for 10th May 2018.

Which secretly pleases George no end, as this cake is an added extra, as I was not going to bake a cake this weekend. 

So it's on with the pinnie and I know I've not chosen any music for a while, but today, is an exception. I have chosen this  video for George, for being so nice.

Neil Young singing Harvest Moon.... are you swaying yet.... I am.... I love, love, love this song.

I really must stop  listening to Neil and organise my ingredients.


100g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
175g unsalted butter ~ room temperature
200g dark Muscavado sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla essence
3 large eggs ~ beaten
150ml Greek yoghurt
150g self raising flower ~sifted


1 tablespoon cocoa powder 
Chocolate stars


100g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
50g unsalted butter
350g icing sugar ~ sifted
6 level tablespoons Greek yoghurt


23cm loose bottom cake tin
baking parchment
Small saucepan 
Pyrex dish to fit the saucepan


Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan

Butter the cake tin and line with baking parchment

Boil a kettle of water and pour into the saucepan until quarter full.  Place on the heat.

Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in the Pyrex bowl. Place the bowl over the saucepan and allow the chocolate to slowly melt.
Set aside.

Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla essence, then gradually add the beaten eggs.  Continue whisking the mixture.  If you find it is beginning to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour to the mixture.

Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl and the yoghurt and continue to whisk until both have been fully incorporated.

Using a metal spoon, gently fold the sifted flour into the mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is thoroughly cooked.

Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes then run a palette knife around the edge of the cake to make sure the edge is released.  Leave the cake in the cake tin until it is cooled.

When cooled.  Take a second cooling tray and 

turn the cake upside down, so that the top becomes the bottom and the bottom becomes the top. This gives a nice flat surface to decorate.


Using a low heat, melt the butter and chocolate in saucepan.

Pour the butter and chocolate mixture into a bowl.

Add the icing sugar and the yoghurt and whisk until smooth. 

Continue whisking until the frosting cools. At this point you will also see it thickening.

Spread the frosting over the top of the cake and if you like you can spread the topping down the side of the cake.

Sprinkle with sifted cocoa and decorated with chocolate stars.

Then all there is left to do,


cut a slice and enjoy.

As you can see, this cake has a lovely, moist texture. It looks as if the cake has sunk in the photograph, but as you could see, when I turned the cake upside down, the surface was flat.  The frosting has decided to run down the centre of the cake.

If you do not fancy yoghurt in your frosting, just make your usual frosting.  I however, love the flavour of this chocolate frosting, as the yoghurt stops the frosting from being too sweet.

Whether you make this Chocolate Yoghurt cake on a Thursday or Friday.... I feel sure you will thoroughly enjoy it.

Until next Saturday, take good care of yourself.

As Always,

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