Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Good Morning to you,
Sadly, today is the day when Phyllis leaves us to travel back home.  We have had a lovely two weeks with her and we have had great fun together.
Yesterday we went to the city to have lunch and enjoy a little bit of shopping.
When we arrived in the city centre, we were greeted with some wonderful African music.  I am sorry I cannot tell you the name of the band as we were unable to find out, but their music was very infectious, as Phyllis and I were swaying in time with the music.
Look to the right of the picture, do you see the chap wearing the big sombrero.... I have a feeling he was expecting a heatwave, or was he just camera shy, mmm not sure, but he continued to play his drums without raising his head. Maybe he was enjoying the moment.
We headed to the shops and came across this young busker, singing his heart out.  The bicycle was placed for a quick get away as buskers tend to be moved on by the police.  I love listening to buskers as it makes the shopping experience much happier. Like many before us, we put some money into his violin case.
One of the reasons we went shopping was for Phyllis to buy a new watch.   The Seiko watch she had worn for over 40 years had finally given up the ghost.  We had it cleaned and taken apart every time she visited us in Cyprus, but now it was time to say goodbye and find a replacement.
She wanted the watch face to be a little larger to make it easier for her to tell the time and she was thrilled with the one she chose which was a very fashionable DKNY watch.

We then decided to have a manicure, which Phyllis thoroughly enjoyed.  She chose a pale pink nail polish by OPI.  You can't see the colour very well in the photograph, as it was a little darker in real life, but it was a very pretty colour.
 It was then time for lunch.  So we stopped at our favourite restaurant and enjoyed chicken, mozzarella, parma ham with salad and pesto sauce, it was heavenly, with lots of fresh flavours.
I have to let you into a little secret, this wasn't the first photograph......this was,
and at what I can only describe as mouth watering excitement in wanting to eat my lunch,  I forgot to take a photograph.  We had decided to have some fries as an extra and I had just placed my fork in the first fry when I said to Phyllis..... oh no, I have forgotten to take a photograph, so it was down with the knife and fork and out with the camera.  I'm afraid  I don't always remember to take photographs, I'm usually busy enjoying the moment. I have lost some great photo opportunities, but hey, I'm getting better and I thought this photograph would make you smile.
When we finished lunch, we went out and about and came across a street artist.  He had so many chalk drawings of dogs, that I couldn't resist taking photographs.  I did ask if he would mind and he seemed very pleased to accommodate me.
Aren't these a couple of cuties.
and look at these handsome fellows
Do you see  the King Charles Spaniel, how I sighed when I saw this drawing as we used to have a King Charles.  Her name was Chloe and she was gorgeous. Sadly she is no longer with us, but she was part of our family for 14 years.
The Boxer dog reminds me of Toby my Auntie Molly's Boxer.
As we headed home, we came across our young busker again, he had a long day singing his songs, so we decided to place some more coins in his violin case.  He said thank you and waved us goodbye.....yes he stopped singing, well to be fair he had finished his song.

We had a lovely day together and in the evening I helped Phyllis pack her case ready for the morning.
She had a lovely holiday and she made lots of new friends.  Hopefully it won't be too long before she travels north again.
By the time you read this she will be in the air flying south and I will be a little sadder, but I must remember there will be a next time.
See you soon, take care until then,
Best Wishes
Daphne xxx

Sunday, 26 August 2012


Good Morning,

Like so many people nowadays,  my   household budget is being stretched, it is getting harder and harder to make the money go further.  By baking, cooking, gardening and sewing I am able to rise to this challenge and save myself a lot of money.

Being careful with your money doesn't have to be a drudge, I see it as a challenge. With a bit of thought I can make my household budget stretch further and that always gives me a sense of achievement. 

Being thrifty is what Phyllis would call it. There is a saying in England which is "look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves!"

So with that thought in mind, there are various hints and tips I have for saving money and this is one of them.

Here in England you can visit the supermarket and buy growing herbs for about 50p for a plant.  They are called "cut and come again".  The reason is that the plants will continue to grow when placed on the window sill so that when you need herbs you can cut them and have fresh herbs.  What I discovered was, they don't last very long, as the plant is potted into a small pot without room to expand.  So, this is what I do,

Take one small basil plant

Cut two of the longest growing shoots,


Find a small glass container. 

Place the two cut stems into the glass.

Make sure they have at least one node for the roots
to grow from.

I always err on the side of caution and cut below
two nodes.

After two weeks you will have a healthy root system. Now these basil cuttings in the photograph are very healthy because the one on the left I grew for three weeks.... yes perhaps a little too long really, but sometimes we are just too busy and things have to wait.....doesn't do the plant any harm!

Pot into a good compost and place outside.

This photograph is of basil cuttings which were potted-on about 5 weeks ago.

Can you see the two tallest stems, well I cut them and placed them into water to create even more basil plants.

At 7 weeks

......and at 8 weeks.

Pretty impressive don't you think.

My next job is to turn these glorious plants into pesto,  so that we can enjoy the basil during the winter months as once the winter frosts appear, the plants will not survive.

I will share my recipe for pesto with you at a later date.

Until then, take care.

Best Wishes

Daphne xxx

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Good Morning,

Yesterday, Phyllis and I were sitting with our feet up, enjoying our morning tea and coffee (Phyllis had tea and I drank coffee).  We were chatting about this and that, when Phyllis said, "I know what we should do, let's make a cake".  So I thought it would be nice to bake a cake  which she had never made before.....and here it is a Chocolate Cloud Cake.

This cake was introduced to me, by Natasha, who by now, you know is our daughter.  It's a cake that is delicious and looks impressive when the need arises.

The recipe I used is from Nigella Lawson's Cookery Book, Nigella Bites. This cookery book is well used and is looking quite "dog eared" , but that's a good sign as it means I use the recipes all the time. 


250g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
125g unsalted butter, softened
6 eggs, 2 whole, 4 separated
175 g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons of Cointreau (optional)

Butter and line  a 23cm spring form cake tin with baking parchment

Pre-heat the oven 180C/Gas Mark 4 

Looks like I have been licking the bowl! There is no way to photograph this in a neat and tidy way!
I thought it best to show you how it really looks.

Melt the chocolate over
 a saucepan of hot water.

Add the butter and allow to melt
 in the warm chocolate.

Beat the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks
 with 75g of the caster sugar.

 Gently add the grated orange,

 the chocolate mixture and 
Cointreau if using
 and mix. 

In another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites
 until foamy, then gradually
 add the 100g of sugar and whisk
 until the whites are holding their shape,
 but not too stiff.

Lighten the chocolate mixture
 with 2 tablespoons of the egg whites,
 then gently fold in the rest of the whites. 

Pour into the prepared tin
 and bake for 35-40 minutes
 or until the cake is risen
 and the centre is no longer wobbly. 

Don't worry that the cake is cracked as this is how it should look. Cool the cake in it's tin on a wire rack.  You will find the middle sinks as it cools.

Sorry, forgot to show you the chocolate.... no I didn't eat it! honestly!


500ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated chocolate  

Do you see the television in the top right hand corner, I could say we were listening to a music channel whilst baking.
But in actual fact Phyllis was watching a zumba cd.....yes I did say a zumba cd whilst the cake was cooling and doing her version of the moves! 

When you are ready to eat the cake, place the still tin-bound cake on a cake stand or plate for serving and carefully remove the cake from it's tin.  Don't worry about the cracks and rough edges.

Whip the cream until it is soft
 and then add the vanilla extract,
 continue whisking until the cream is firm,
 but not too stiff.

Fill the sunken part of the cake with cream. Phyllis
was my extra pair of hands and she spooned on the cream for me.

And finally, sprinkle the cream liberally with grated chocolate.

 Doesn't it look fabulous.  Of course the cloud part of the cake is the cream on top.

I've shown you a photograph of the cake sliced so that you can see the baking parchment.  The cake is so fragile I had to leave it on the base, as I have not found a way of removing it without spoiling the cake.  If anyone has any idea how to remove it I would love to know.  Just to say I can't turn it onto another plate as the top would be crushed and  spoilt.

And there we have it, a delicious cake. 

We allowed it to cool, which was very hard to do, then each of us had a slice with a cup of coffee and we sat in the garden with a smile  of sweet satisfaction on our faces.....what a nice way to spend a day.

This week I shall be joining,

So until next time, take care.

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Good morning to you,

I hope you enjoyed your week as much as Phyllis and I have.


Enjoyed lunch together

Picked lettuce from the garden

Enjoyed one or two cakes,

Picked strawberries

Shelled peas in the morning sunshine

Listened to our favourite music

Enjoyed a glass of wine

Watched a film

Ate juicy nectarines


Put our feet up

What did you do this week?

Take care and I will see you later in the week.

Best Wishes

Daphne xxx

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


Good Morning to you,

During March and April  George and I visited India for six whole weeks.....yes six whole weeks! How lucky were we.

Whilst there,  my daughter Natasha showed me a quilt which was made up of scraps of sari material, border ribbon, well, really odds and ends of fabric taken from the cutting room floor. Plus for added interest  beads, sequins,  mirror embroidery and a variety of embroidery threads and stitches. 

.....and this is the result......the most exquisite quilt I have ever seen. This quilt appeals to my love of colour.

These sumptuous pieces of fabric are stitched together in the normal way, but the seams are  hidden by using what we know as whipped stem stitch.

If you look to the bottom left of the picture you will see border ribbon which is used around the neckline of tunics.  This has been a left over piece and cleverly incorporated into the quilt.

I think it would be fair to say this is a crazy patchwork quilt as it uses irregular shapes and scraps of beautiful fabric.

The elephant's trunk has been created by using blue and gold border ribbon.

There is so much embellishment  that it must have taken hours and hours and I must say sari material would not be the easiest material to work with.

The blue used to depict the elephant is the most beautiful blue.  I'm afraid the photographs really don't do it justice.

Can you see the mirror work, this would take so long to attach, I really admire the person who created this beautiful quilt.

More embroidery work, there are so many different embroidery stitches used to make this quilt.  It was made by a very skilled craftswoman.

.....and to remind you what all the bits and pieces sewn together actually make.....this very beautiful and exquisite quilt.

I hope you enjoyed this beautiful quilt and I'm sure you admire it as much as I do.

 When we left India I had to leave behind a "mountainous" amount of sari scraps as I could not fit them into my suitcase (sigh), but Natasha has promised that she will keep them until my next visit......then I will be able to make my own crazy "sari" patchwork quilt!

Until next time, take care,

Best Wishes,

Daphne xxx

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