Saturday, 12 January 2019


Good Afternoon to you,

I wonder, have you ever nurtured a dream which you hope to achieve at some point in your life?

.... and if you have nurtured a dream,  have you managed  to turn that dream into reality?

Well I have to tell you, I know someone who has managed to do just that.... turn their dream into reality. 

Let me introduce you to my sister,

Elaine Roberts. Elaine's dream was to become a published writer, and she achieved this goal by having her short stories published in a series of  magazines. She was thrilled when each of her short stories was published, but in her heart of hearts what she really wanted, was to have her novel published. Well the exciting news is that my sister, Elaine has recently had her first novel published.... isn't that the most wonderful achievement.

The Foyles Bookshop Girls.  

The Foyles Bookshop Girls has been written as a 3 book series,  with the first book, Foyles Bookshop Girls available as we speak. 

The 2nd book, 'The Foyles Bookshop Girls at War' will be published on 15th January of this year.

With the 3rd and final book, 'Christmas at The Foyles Bookshop'  due to be published in August.

So as a treat, I thought I would share with you a brief outline of The Foyles Bookshop Girls.... just to see if it tickles your fancy, which I feel sure it will.

'The story is based in London, 1914: one ordinary day, three girls arrive for work at London's renowned Foyles Bookshop.  But when war with Germany is declared their lives will never be the same again....

Alice has always been the 'sensible' one in her family. But decidedly against her father's wishes, she accepts a job at Foyles Bookshop; and for bookworm Alice it's a dream come true.

But with the country at war, Alice's happy world is shattered in an instant.  Determined to do what she can, Alice works in the bookshop by day, and risks her own life driving an ambulance around bomb-ravaged London by night.  However busy she keeps herself, she can't help but think of the constant danger those she loves are facing on the frontline....

Alice, Victoria and Molly couldn't be more different and yet they share a friendship that stems back to their childhood _ a friendship that provides everyday solace from the tribulations and heartbreak of war.'

Are you tempted.... has this brief outline of the Foyles Bookshop Girls left you wanting more.... well the good news is, The Foyles Bookshop Girls Trilogy can be found on and are available in the Kindle edition, or if you are like me and love to feel the story unfolding, by the turning of a page, then the paperback edition is also available.

Before I leave you, I have to ask you something.  Is this shameless advertising on my part.... almost certainly.... but when my sister achieves her dream of having, not 1, not 2, but 3 books published, then surely a little shameless advertising on my part is perfectly fine..... don't you agree.

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

As always.

Saturday, 5 January 2019


Good Afternoon to you,

Each year, around this time, I love to look back on the previous year.  It is not until I look backwards that I realise how many different stories, recipes and moments in my day to day life, that I have shared with you.

When I first began writing Ivy, Phyllis and Me! it was to share recipes with my two lovely daughters, recipes which had been passed down from Ivy my Grandmother and Phyllis my Mother.  I then began adding recipes which I also love to cook.  Along the way, I broadened Ivy, Phyllis and Me! to include an equal passion for gardening.  Slowly but surely, my other love, sewing and crocheting, not wanting to be left behind, gradually found their place in the sunshine.

So today, let us revisit 2018 and enjoy a few of the stories and recipes. As always we will begin with January.  

In this baskets previous life, it contained jams, marmalade and chutneys which a lovely friend had given to us as a Christmas gift.  The goodies had been enjoyed and the little basket was just waiting to be re-used. Later in January, we visited our local garden centre and it was there that I discovered the baskets new use.... the perfect home for these pretty Belarina Primula.  Once the Primula finished flowering, I found them a shady spot and planted them in the garden.

.... and now to one of my favourite topics. I have often spoken to you about my love of the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus, so in January I shared  the recipe for my Olive Oil Cake... it was such a success that if you have never tried Olive Oil for baking, try my recipe.... I think you will be pleasantly surprised just how lovely it is.

In February,

my daughter, Natasha, asked me to share my recipe for Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie.  Both Natasha and her husband had enjoyed the meal so much, when they came to stay, that when they returned home, Natasha wanted to add this recipe to her repertoire. 

I also shared my recipe for Sweet Potato Burgers, which incidentally I absolutely love.

March arrived,

and I shared with you my recipe for Chia Seed Breakfast pots.... as you can see by the last 2 recipes, we were definitely trying to eat healthily.

.... and then British Pie Week arrived, which could have totally scuppered our healthy eating.

I told you the story of when George was a little boy, how his father made pies for the family as a way to stretch the food.  My version of a pie was a healthy version... I don't think Bob, George's father would have agreed that this was a pie, but thankfully George loved it. 

We also had a little chat about cutlery (flatware to my American friends) as I do love a nice set of cutlery. It was interesting to see how many friends agreed with me.

April arrived and I made this lovely  Orange Cake.... don't be fooled by this cakes simplicity... as it was delicious.

May arrived and by the end of the month the garden was bursting into life.  Although winter seemed endless last year, we were rewarded with the most beautiful summer.  Here in the North East of England the winds are notoriously strong, but not last summer, they were kind to us, so the flowers enjoyed a gentle, balmy summer.

Before we knew it, June had arrived and surprisingly in between gardening, I managed to finish my crocheted throw. Which to be honest is unheard of because during the summer months I can always be found in the garden.

As the weather was so beautiful, my healthy Orange Salad went down a treat. I also shared a funny story about a young Magpie who visited our garden.

I then took a blogging break due to family commitments, but by October I was raring to go and shared with you,

a favourite dish of mine, my version of Butter Chicken.

Before we knew it November was knocking on the door and I told you a lovely story about a little girl I met during a visit to my Thursday Craft Group.

... and then December was here. 

Christmas preparations were in full swing. Christmas sweet mince pies were ready for baking,

the Christmas tree was dressed and sparkled with twinkling lights.

Red cushions, red throws and red Poinsettias were
 in place
ready for Christmas Day.

Christmas Day arrived and I was thoroughly spoilt with so many lovely Christmas gifts. Our Christmas dinner was eaten.... but there was no space for Christmas Pudding, so we saved the pudding for Boxing Day.

After Christmas Day and Boxing Day had been enjoyed,  it seemed the end of 2018 was fast approaching.

.... and here we are in January 2019.  There will be ups and there will be downs, life will not always go according to plan, but as with previous years, we will ride the highs and deal with the lows when they arrive. 

As always, 

Monday, 24 December 2018


Good Morning to you,

My Mince Pies have been made
and are ready for baking.

The fragrance of fresh

dried fruits 

fill the air.

Red Christmas cushions

bright red Poinsettias
bring seasonal colour
to each of my rooms.

Our Christmas tree
 looks so lovely 
hung with decorations
old and new.

Even my Christmas dress
has been chosen.

With all my Christmas gifts wrapped
and Christmas cards delivered,
there is just one
very important thing left for me to do,
and that is
wish you
and your family
a very
Happy Christmas
to say thank you so very much
for taking the time
throughout the year
visit me here
at Ivy, Phyllis and Me!
Your love and support
Ivy, Phyllis and Me!
is truly appreciated.

As Always,

Saturday, 8 December 2018


Good Afternoon to you,

I had the most wonderful day a couple of Saturday's ago, when I went with a group of friends, to the beautiful Spa town of Harrogate for the Knitting and Stitching Show.

I was up and about at 6.00 am eating my breakfast, drinking my coffee and making sure I had everything I needed for my trip. 

Now I have to tell you, at 8.00am it is usually very quiet in my household and being so early, I expected a quiet journey to Harrogate.  How wrong was I. As the coach filled with ladies, the noise grew louder and the air filled with excited chatter. I have never experienced so much fun and laughter, so early in the morning.

We arrived in Harrogate a couple of hours later to see queues forming in front of the Harrogate Convention Centre, but none of us minded because we were with like minded people, who love to create, so waiting in a queue was no problem at all.  It's amazing how you can strike up a conversation with a stranger when they have the same interests as yourself.

Once we passed through security and were indoors, the fun began.

I had taken a list of items I wanted to buy, because I knew there would be a lot of stalls and I needed to be focused.  I decided,  I would browse first. The problem with browsing, is, you have to remember where you have browsed, especially as there were over 200 craft exhibitors.

.... and whilst browsing  I went completely off piste when I came across,

a stall selling Sashiko templates. I stopped dead in my tracks and knew immediately, that although Sashiko did not feature on my list, I would be buying some cloth.... at which point my list went right out of the window.

Sashiko is an ancient form of sewing using  running stitches.... similar to our quilting stitches.  Now you may think running stitches are easy, but to sew accurate running stitches, well that is another matter.  I will be put to the test when I begin this project.

As we walked on, I saw some very talented exhibitors, but I was intrigued when I saw  a stall with numerous perspex boxes laid out on tables.  I walked towards the stall and discovered under each perspex box, the most beautiful sweetheart pin cushion.... this is something I have never heard of. When I spoke to Diane Grant, she said that the pin cushions were love tokens made by recouperating soldiers during the Great War.  I really feel I cannot say too much because Diane researched this book for 4 years, so I would urge you to buy a copy as I feel sure, like me, you will find the history of sweetheart pin cushions quite fascinating.

Diane's Forget Me Not Book is published by Tandem Books, Wakefield, Yorkshire with the ISBN:978-1-9997950-09.

I spent a lot of time at Diane's stall, but eventually it was time to move on.

Now I think you know I am quite partial to a homemade Christmas tree decoration and so are my daughters, so I was pleased to discover this Christmas Beaded Wreath Kit.... I should say kits, because I bought 2, one for each of my daughters.... a little late to make any headway this year, but this will be something fun to complete next year.

.... and my final purchase was 3 skeins of this beautiful Falkland Aran wool and with a name like Basil it had to come home with me.  This wool is absolutely gorgeous to use.  I cannot tell you what I am knitting because it's a secret.... and if I tell you, then it will not be a secret.... but when the wool is knitted I will show you what I created.

All in all, I had the most fabulous day.  Now I mentioned at the beginning that in the morning the ladies on the coach were in high spirits, so I expected, after many hours of walking, everyone would be quiet on the journey home.... how wrong could I be, everyone was talking about the different items they had bought.... there was so much laughter that I have to tell you my sides hurt when I arrived home. That night I slept like a baby.... with a smile on my face.

.... and talking of a smile on my face, Christmas is really on its way, because yesterday I received my first Christmas card from our youngest daughter..... how happy am I.

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

Saturday, 17 November 2018


Good Morning to you,

I love this time of year, as I can feel the sense of anticipation beginning to fill the air. Along with most people, my thoughts are slowly moving towards Christmas. Nothing major, just making lists and organising my Christmas thoughts.

....but there is also something else on my mind, which I am getting a tad excited about. I know, that in a short while, the many boxes stored in the loft, will be brought downstairs and each decoration will be carefully unwrapped. I love that each year, at Christmas time, our home takes on a whole new look, when it is filled with twinkly lights and beautiful baubles.

.... but there is a small problem with Christmas decorations being stored away for so long.... I tend to forget from one year to the next, just what I have packed away, so each year, I succumb to maybe one or two new decorations,

and this year is no different.  Well how could I walk away from such lovely Christmas decorations. I mean, it would be such a shame and if I hadn't bought them, I would have only regretted it, so for my peace of mind I decided to buy them.  As you can see,  I can convince myself of anything. 

With thoughts of Christmas lights and Christmas baubles, it is lovely to see the change in our city. The buildings are beginning to be dressed in their Christmas finery. Twinkling lights are hanging from shop windows. Christmas Markets visit our city and life is generally filled with hustle and bustle.

.... and Friday was no exception. I decided it was time to begin my Christmas shopping, as I have Christmas gifts which are to be posted abroad and although I cannot share with you the gifts I bought, I can certainly show you these,

gorgeous little robins, carved from wood. I looked at them, walked away.  I looked at them again on my return journey, and thought to myself, 'Mmm  they are really sweet', but my hands were filled with shopping bags, so I walked away.  You never know, they may be there the next time I go into town.

... and look at this stall.  Each year, we are thoroughly spoilt, because this company travels from Holland to bring us the most wonderful plants.

.... and as I am sure you can imagine, 

I lingered for quite a while looking at these lovely plants.  Do you see the cloud pruned trees on the left hand side of the photograph,  they are rather special aren't they.

What I love about our city is that you never know what to expect around the next corner.  I was amazed to see a young man creating this sand sculpture.  All the work he had put into this sand sculpture and all the pleasure he had given to passers by, would be turned back into sand at the end of the day.

There were Scottish bagpipes filling the air and as you can imagine this drew a large crowd. Around another corner there was a folk singer singing his songs.

... and around another corner I spotted these wooden reindeer,  carved from logs. I thought they were so cute.

All in all I had a lovely day.  I managed to buy quite a few Christmas presents.... but I still have a few more to buy.

Oh well, there is nothing to be done.... I will just have to return to our lovely city next week.

Oh I just remembered, I won't be with you next Saturday as I am going to The Harrogate Christmas Fair, so I will catch up with you later in the week, when I will tell you all about my trip. 

Until then,

As Always,

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