Saturday, 13 October 2018


Good Afternoon to you,

I was talking to George the other day, about the fact that there are so many text abbreviations I do not understand.

For instance 'lol'.... it took me an age to discover that the letters stood for 'laugh out loud'.... how had this happened, why had this passed me by..... and when did 'haha' become 'lol'. 

Back in the days when I wrote letters and I wanted to write something funny, I would always finish the sentence with 'haha'.... making sure the recipient of the letter realised I was being funny, but it seems 'haha' is now obsolete and has been replaced with 'lol'.

.... and who is the person, who has brought me up to date with texting lingo.... someone of my age?  I'm afraid not, it is George's young nephew who when I asked if he knew what 'haha' stood for, said he hadn't a clue  and he thought it was so funny that I did not know what 'lol' meant, because apparently it had been around forever.... this coming from an 11 year old.... forever seemed an odd word to use (haha) .... sorry, I couldn't help myself.

So he decided to test my knowledge, which as you can tell by now, is pretty limited.

Here goes, wish me luck.

BTW ~ 'By the way' ~ nope,
I had no idea.

How about IDK ~ nope, I failed again. Apparently it stands for 'I Don't Know'.

Would I fare any better with TTYL ~ Those of you who are old enough to remember the Jimmy Young Show on Radio 2, will remember Jimmy saying goodbye with the initials TTFN ~ 'Ta Ta For Now'. It sounded so similar, but I couldn't imagine youngsters still saying Ta Ta. So I thought long and hard, as this was becoming embarrassing. How about 'Text those you love'.... I thought that was pretty good.... can you tell I was clutching at straws, trying to save face.  I shouldn't have bothered, I should have just given in gracefully,  because really, this was becoming embarrassing.  You may be surprised to learn that 'Text those you love' was totally wrong, the initials stand for 'Talk to you later'..... I know, I know, I really should have worked that one out.

....and finally... BRB ~ Be right back. By now I feel sure you will see  a pattern emerging and you will not be surprised to learn, that I didn't know this one either.

At which point George's nephew decided to give up on me, because my knowledge of texting was certainly below par, actually if there is anything below par, then that is what I scored, as  I scored a big round zero.

So it got me thinking about abbreviations which I used when I was young.

Do you remember,

writing the letters S.W.A.L.K on the back of envelopes which were sent to your boyfriend.

.... even more, do you remember what the letters stood for?  If you are of a certain age, then I feel sure you will remember,

the letters stood for, 
'Sealed with a loving kiss'

Or how about,

no, not the country,
Hope Our Love Lasts and Never Dies

I used to think George was so romantic when he sent me letters with H.O.L.L.A.N.D. written on the back of the envelope.

.... and my most favourite and one we have used as a couple for the past 50 years is,

'381'.  These numbers have driven our daughters crazy for years, because we have not told them what they mean.  Of course they have asked, but we just smile and say nothing. To be honest we always thought that they would discover the meaning, but do you know they never have. So finally, after all the years of asking, they are going to find out today.  '381' means 3 words..... I love you..... 8 letters ~ I love you and 1 meaning ~ I love you.

I wonder if I tested George's nephew, would he know their meaning.

Of course not, life has moved on and I feel sure when he reaches my age, he will probably feel the same as I do because technology is moving so fast.

.... but you never know, he might have a lovely nephew, who in the future, will help him, as much as he has helped me.

Take care and I will see you next week.

As Always,

Saturday, 6 October 2018


Good Afternoon to you,

Thank you so much for being patient.

It was not my intention to leave you for so long, but during the summertime, family, home and garden took over.  Before I knew it, the days had rolled into weeks, which in turn rolled into months and when I checked how long it had been since I had last written to you, I was rather surprised. I am pleased to say, that  everything has returned to normal, so I can now give you my full attention.

Are you curious to see what have I been doing whilst I have been away?

If you have been reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! for a while, then you will know that as much as I love cooking, I also love gardening.... and I couldn't be happier with how, in just one year, we have transformed our garden. It is filled with colourful flowers and gorgeous fragrance.

.... and look at the colour of this Evening Primrose. This photograph was taken in the evening, just as the light was fading, as this is when Evening Primroses are at their best.... they truly are this colour when the light fades. The plant lasts for just one year, so I collect the seeds, sew them in spring and when summer arrives, I have a host of new plants to enjoy.

.... and the roses which I received as birthday gifts, have really enjoyed this year's warm summer. This rose is James Galway and it is a David Austin rose.  Nowadays, I buy all my roses from David Austin because I find they are so resistant to disease.

I am sorry about the large pots in the background, but I am moving plants around the garden at the moment. When I divide a plant, I plant one half in the garden and put the other half into a pot, that is until I can decide where its new home will be.

As a precaution against aphids, I have planted English Marigolds mixed with Lavender very close to  the roses. The colour orange is just stunning. When I walk around the garden, like little jewels, they catch my eye.

These beautiful pink Cosmos I planted from seed and they have grown to an amazing height. The other day, my neighbour asked me if I had fed them anything special, because he had never seen such tall Cosmos.  I think it is all about the soil, if you can enrich your soil, then plants will thrive.

These lovely little petunias are in a hanging basket just beside my back door.  Even though we have had a cold spell, they are still doing well. I think it is because they are in a sheltered position. I will miss them when they fade because when I am in my kitchen, I enjoy looking out of the window seeing their beauty

.... and I am absolutely in love with this gorgeous double clematis.  For the life of me, at the moment, I cannot think of its name.  I will be adding some more rose arches to my garden, later in the year, and this clematis is definitely going to be gracing one of them.

The borders as you can see are really filling up well.  On this side, I am waiting patiently for the bushes to grow, but they do tend to be slow in their first year.  I am looking forward to a little more height in the back of the border.  Can you see the obelisk? The stems twining around the obelisk are my French runner beans.  This photograph was taken in July and the beans have since been picked and enjoyed. Next year, I will definitely be growing more vegetables in the border.

I am so pleased with how the garden has evolved in just one year.  Admittedly it took a lot of hard work, but I never mind, because it is such a pleasure when everything grows.

I have to say, the bird bath needs a little tender loving care. The original bowl was broken when we moved house, so we added this bowl, only as an interim piece so during the summer the birds had plenty of water to drink, but we have been so busy, it has stayed as it is. Do you find, when the eye gets used to something, we stop noticing that anything is wrong.

This Constance Spry rose is planted along the back fence of our seating area, and when this jasmine, which I have companion  planted with the rose, reaches its full height and flowers..... the fragrance will be wonderful. Even as a small plant, these little flowers were so fragrant.  

Next year, one of our jobs is to remove the decking at the bottom of the garden, then I can plant lavender and chamomile to increase the fragrance even more.... the bees will be in heaven.

That is the most wonderful thing about gardening, just when you think you have finished, something catches your eye and the fork and spade come out of the shed and the fun begins all over again.

One of the jobs I need to do is to decide which spring bulbs I am going to plant and decide where they are going to be planted....and that is always fun.

I am looking forward to catching up with you to see what you have been doing during the summertime.  It might take a little while, but I promise I will catch up.

Take care and I will be with you next Saturday.

As Always.

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,

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