Thursday, 31 August 2017


Good Morning to you,

If you have been reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! for a little while, you will know that I have two daughters.

.... and if you have watched any of Natasha's YouTube videos about the Dynasty 80s TV Show, then you will also have seen both my daughters and heard them laughing at the end of the YouTube clips.... which I absolutely love.

.... but I don't talk about Danielle very often. Not because Danielle doesn't want me to talk about her, but, like most young people, she is busy with her job and we don't seem to be able to get together as much as we both would like.  Danielle lives in the south of England and we live in the north.

We do skype, which I love, as it brings us so much closer together.  Much better to see her face, than she just be a voice on the other end of the phone.

.... but a couple of weeks ago, Danielle was super busy and could not skype, so she text Natasha and myself.

The text read,

News Flash, We are doing some work for Mungo Jerry. I've spoken to him quite a few times. I had to be professional and refrain from singing 'In the Summertime when the weather is fine' I'm so excited.

I text back to say how wonderful. In 1970, 'In the Summertime' was our favourite  song, both dad and I loved it.

I then asked, how long do you think it will be before you sing,

'In the Summer time
When the weather is fine
You can stretch right up and touch the sky?'

and I ended the text by saying, 'dad and I can't stop singing the song.  Dad's even whistling the tune. That song made everyone feel so happy in the summer of 1970.

Danielle replied, that she was finding it hard to work because she was so excited.  She also said that she couldn't stop singing the song either.

Natasha then caught up with us (because there is a 6 hour time difference) and sent us all, the YouTube clip of Mungo Jerry singing 'In the Summertime' and added that 'We have a weekend theme song'.

Danielle, replied by saying she couldn't stop singing the song.

Natasha then  sent a text to say that Ray Dorset (Mungo Jerry's real name) also plays the kazoo.

To which Danielle replied, I know, I know.  I'm just so excited to meet him.... how cool would that be.

Natasha replied, very, very, very cool.

I then text Danielle saying, I wonder what he would say if he knew, that we Bryson's were so excited that you were going to meet him. I ended by saying we were listening to 'In the Summertime', thanks to Natasha.

Danielle replied, Oh my, my day has just got better. My boss has promised me, if I don't sing down the phone to Ray, when the work is completed, he will take me to the site so I can ask Ray to sign my Mungo Jerry 'Electronically Tested' vinyl.

I replied, Oh my word, how wonderful.  Although Danielle, it is going to be really hard not to sing to him.  I don't think restraint is in the Bryson vocabulary. Remember you have your father's Bryson blood running through your veins.

Then Natasha came back to us and said 'Duet! I want a video of the two or you harmonising to 'In the Summertime'. As you can tell, Natasha also has her father's Bryson blood running through her veins.

.... and then we all calmed down.  Danielle had to return to work.  Natasha was working on her YouTube clips and I returned to my cooking.

So we waited with bated breath, for Danielle to meet one of her favourite singers.

All was silent.

So this week, when I skyped Danielle, I asked had she managed to meet Ray Dorset.

Well, she said and took a huge breath.

Yes, I went to his home and you'll never believe what I did.  I hid behind the gates.

I asked her, why on earth did she do that, as this is not the Danielle we know and love.  Our youngest daughter is certainly not shy in coming forward.

It turns out, that the work did not go quite according to plan.  The company where Danielle works makes high end electronic gates.  The gates were put in place, but apparently the colour of the frame was wrong. There had been some mis-communication. Danielle went on to say, that Ray (I do hope he doesn't mind me calling him Ray, as it is a bit cheeky when I don't know him) was such a gentleman.  He could have been really annoyed, but he wasn't he was very understanding.

.... but Danielle was disappointed that one of her favourite singers, did not get the colour of gate frame he had requested. Although it was not her fault, she felt she had let him down.

It turns out this was the reason Danielle hid behind the gates.

Although in her heart, Danielle's Bryson gene wanted to sing to Ray.... she said she couldn't help the feeling, it's just biological.... she knew she couldn't, so she kept popping her head up and down behind the gate, singing 'In the Summertime', to herself.

If only Ray knew.

The colour of the frame has been corrected and I believe the new gate is going to be hung.

At that point, when Ray is happy with his new gate, Danielle feels she can ask him to sign her vinyl copy of Electronically Tested.

I really hope he does, as Danielle will be thrilled.

.... and she said she will do her best not to sing 'In the Summertime' to Ray.... I do hope she manages to keep her self control.

So of course today, I just had to share,

This original 1970s clip of Mungo Jerry singing 'In The Summertime'. 

I knew this was a popular song, but when I read the amount of views, I was astounded.  51,681,874 people had viewed this song.  I really shouldn't be astounded, as it is such a happy song.  Listen, enjoy and I bet you will be singing along as well.

Oh and I will let you know if Danielle gets her vinyl album signed by Ray..... if she is successful I will show you the photograph.

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

As Always,

Thursday, 24 August 2017


Good Morning to you,

As you know, I love cooking.  I am not a 'fancy pants' cook, I am a home cook, who enjoys cooking and baking at home.

Although,  every now and again, I do enjoy eating a slice of pizza, bought from a pizza house and I am also partial to the odd fish and chips from Gorman's Fish and Chip shop.... and of course when I am on holiday, I love trying the local food.... but when I am at home, I rarely buy-in food, because, I love to cook.

Having said that, a few weeks ago, we did buy-in food. I was feeling tired, after a busy day of unpacking, so George suggested we should buy a pizza for supper. I made some salad and I really enjoyed the pizza, but later that evening, I was so thirsty. I drank glass after glass of water. I couldn't understand why I was so thirsty, so I looked at the ingredients in the pizza we had just eaten, only to discover there was a high ratio of salt, no wonder I was thirsty. Just as well I don't eat pizza very often.

So after the pizza had been eaten, the table cleared and the dishes washed and put away, we sat down, George with his glass of wine and me with one of my many glasses of water. The talk turned to food. We chatted about how food had changed during our lifetime and this led to talking about dishes I cooked during the early years of our marriage. George said the dishes he remembered the most were Beef Bourguignon and Beef Stroganoff .... they were always a dinner party favourite. I remember feeling so proud, the first time I presented these dishes at a dinner party, but I have not made these dishes for years.

.... and then George mentioned Waldorf Salad and asked if I remembered the recipe.  My word, I really had to think as it must be 30 years or more since I made Waldorf Salad. At first I confused Waldorf Salad with Caesar Salad and thought croutons were added to Waldorf Salad, which of course they are not.  So I had to rummage through the back of my brain, to recall the ingredients.  

Between the two of us, we got there, as George remembered celery, I remembered walnuts, George remembered apple and grapes, whilst I remembered the sultanas.... and of course the all important dressing, mayonnaise. So between us we remembered all of the ingredients, which as it turns out, were either in my store cupboard or in the fresh compartment of my fridge.

So I thought it would be fun, after all these years to re-create 

my version of Waldorf Salad.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to .... I just know you will love.....

is the fabulous Dinah Washington.  I have a couple of copies of this song, but both are on a Cd. I am hoping to find a vinyl record of Dinah singing Mad About The Boy to add to my collection.  So I feel sure you can guess why I love this visual so much.  

So whilst I listen to Dinah and of course sing along with her, it is time to organise my ingredients.


Serves 6 as a side dish

Juice of half an orange
50g sultanas
2 celery sticks
100g seedless green grapes
50g walnuts
2 rounded tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 rounded tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
1 red crisp eating apple ~ Royal Gala
1 Little Gem lettuce


An hour before preparing the salad you will need to soak the sultanas in the orange juice.

Juice the orange

add the sultanas.

Leave for 1 hour to allow the sultanas to plump up.

15 minutes before the sultanas are ready,
slice the celery.
Set aside for the moment.

Cut the grapes in half.
Set aside for the moment.

Chop some of the walnuts
leave others whole.
Set aside for the moment.

Using a large bowl,
mix together the mayonnaise
the Greek yoghurt

Drain the sultanas 
add 1 tablespoonful of orange juice to the
mayonnaise and yoghurt.
Mix together.

chop the apple into bite sized pieces.

all the ingredients to the
bowl of
mayonnaise, Greek yoghurt and orange dressing.

Combine all the ingredients together, so that everything is evenly coated.

Separate and wash the Little Gem lettuce leaves and arrange them in a bowl.

Add the Waldorf Salad.

Then all you have to do,



.... and we certainly did as with the first mouthful, the memories of our youthful dinner parties came flooding back.  I have come to the conclusion that just because a dish is considered 'old hat' nowadays, it should not be relegated to the back burner.  We both thoroughly enjoyed this Waldorf Salad.

.... and yes, it will be made again.

I poached some chicken breasts, sliced them and as they were plain and simple, they paired beautifully with my version of Waldorf Salad.

I feel sure I am going to be delving into my older cookery books and present to the table, other recipes which we enjoyed years ago.

Now that will be fun.

I wonder, do you have a favourite recipe, from 'way back when', which you enjoy making,  I would love to know.

.... and just before I leave you, I wanted to say, thank you so very much for popping over to visit Natasha's YouTube channel, she was over the moon with your response.  She will continue adding YouTube clips, so if you want to follow along, I just know she will love your company. 

You are all such lovely people and I am so pleased to have you in my life. 

You really do make 'my heart sing'.

I look forward to catching up with you next Thursday.

As Always,

Thursday, 17 August 2017


Good Morning to you,

There are periods in our lives when we meet people, and begin, what we think, will be a good friendship, only to discover, they are not the friends we thought they were. You know this in your heart to be true, but the hardest thing, is to admit it to yourself and to shed the said friendship. As we grow older, we realise, there is no place in our lives for these type of 'friends' because they do not make our heart sing.

.... but on the other side of the coin  there are people in our lives, who do make our heart sing and who make us feel we can do anything we want to..... fly to the moon, if that is our hearts desire.

.... and I am lucky to have friends and family who inspire confidence and who truly make me feel I could fly to the moon, if that is want I wanted.

Two of my biggest supporters are my daughters Natasha and Danielle, they make me believe I can do anything which I set my mind to.  I might not believe them at the time, but with their encouragement I usually surprise myself and manage to do whatever it is I set out to do.

For instance, Ivy, Phyllis and Me!

My biggest supporter and the one person who truly encouraged me to stop putting  pen to paper to write my recipes and to  begin writing Ivy, Phyllis and Me! was Natasha.  She gently guided me, even when I dug my heels in and made every excuse imaginable not to write this blog. The excuse which came up time after time was, 'I didn't have the time to write a blog, I was far too busy,' but still, living half-way around the world, Natasha persevered and would not listen to my lame excuses.  You see Natasha saw something which I didn't see, that I had a wealth of information tucked inside my brain, which was just waiting to be shared. She knew me so well, that she knew I would love writing, even if I didn't know this myself.  She instinctively knew that writing a blog would be the right platform for me. 

.... and so, with much 'kicking and screaming' Ivy, Phyllis and Me! was born.

Even though the original idea was to set down recipes for Natasha and Danielle, I did hope that someone else would visit, although I really didn't expect anyone would.

Well as it turns out, you did. I have many friends from this country and around the world who have returned to visit me week after week.  If you had told me on 'Day 1' of Ivy, Phyllis and Me! that friends would return again and again, I would not have believed you, but return you have and for that, I am so very grateful.

.... and so the world turns, because I have been given the most marvellous opportunity to help and support Natasha.  I want to support Natasha in the same way as she supported me.

.... and I feel with your kindness and help, it will set  her on the path to what she loves to do..... writing.  

Natasha is currently writing a book about that fabulous  80s TV Show, Dynasty and she is creating a series of YouTube clips, to highlight the book. Natasha has created these YouTube clips, by learning absolutely everything herself. She has spent hours upon hours learning about correct lighting, about camera work, about stop/go motion and so much more associated with making a good quality YouTube clip. To be absolutely honest with you I am in awe of what she has achieved.

So I have learnt, yes learnt..... amazing what you can do when you try..... to embed Natasha's latest Dynasty Teaser Trailer here on my blog. 

Wasn't the clip brilliant. If you enjoyed this YouTube clip, could I ask you to 'Like' and 'subscribe' as this will help Natasha get her YouTube clips noticed in the ratings.

I am just in awe of how Natasha has created this Teaser Trailer, there was so much work involved. Were your feet tapping by the end of the YouTube clip..... I know mine were.

I have also added a link to Episode 1. You will hear Natasha talking about the episode. Click on this link to  Natasha's YouTube site and if you wait until the very end, you will hear both my daughter's laughing.... which in turn, I feel sure will make you laugh.  I know both George and I laugh every time we listen to a new video. 

So before I leave you, I want to say a heartfelt thank you for your support. Please know that with your help and encouragement, you will be helping Natasha to achieve her dreams.

I look forward to catching up with you next Thursday.

As Always

Saturday, 12 August 2017


Good Morning to you,

.... and where was I on Thursday?

Actually, I have to tell you, I was having lots of fun celebrating Gloria, my sister-in-law's, 60th birthday.

I say I, when I should really say, the whole family were celebrating Gloria's birthday.

When I visited Gloria on Thursday morning, she was surrounded by gifts and flowers and so many birthday cards, that it would have been impossible to count them all.... and if memory serves me well, I don't think she had one repeat card. The mantelpiece and window sills were covered in a mixture of small, medium and large sized birthday cards.... they looked so lovely.

.... and in front of the fire place floated two huge balloons, in the shape of 60.  The floating balloons were huge and when Gloria stood beside them, they towered over her.

After we hugged and I gave her our birthday gift and card, she showed me the many lovely gifts she had received from friends and family. We then decided to take a walk around her garden.  I was especially keen to see Gloria's new vegetable plot which had been planted in raised beds at the bottom of her garden.  She showed me the huge variety of vegetables she was growing and I was excited to see she had one of my favourites, beetroot pushing its way through the soil.  Gloria knows I love freshly roasted beetroot and promised to share some with me when they were ready to be harvested. I definitely had a twinkle in my eye when she offered me beetroot as even beetroot bought from the market does not compare with freshly harvested beetroot from the garden.

We then walked around her flower garden and I had a lovely time. Before I left to return home, Gloria gifted me with 3 lettuces, which were pulled from the soil that very morning.

We said our goodbyes and I said I was looking forward to celebrating her birthday later that day when the family were meeting up, at a fabulous Turkish restaurant, which we all love.

The restaurant was perfect because it was so family friendly.  Our family group ranged from 9 years to 90 years and every age in between. There was something delicious for everyone.  I have to tell you the starter of filo pastry with soft cheese and spinach was fabulous.

By the end of the meal I was so full, that I thought I would not be able to eat anything the following day. I'll tell you how full I was, I refused dessert.  Yes honestly, now you know about me and my sweet tooth, I love desserts, but even I could not face another mouthful.

Now notice I wrote 'I thought I would not be able to eat anything the following day'. Well I was wrong, because I woke up the following morning and I was so hungry. I don't know about you, but I find if I eat a meal late in the evening, for some reason, the following day, I feel ravenous.  Which seems silly, because you would think that as I was full to the brim the previous evening, my tummy would be saying 'please no more food'.

So I decided I would not indulge this supposed hunger, no, I would be sensible and make some soup. Actually, it turned out to be a good idea, because as it was the end of the week,  I needed to check my fridge to see what 'bits and pieces' were left and what I needed to use up.

I often make soup with left overs, as it is a great way to use up food.

.... and my leftovers turned into,

should I call it carrot soup, or should I call it carrot, tomato and rice soup? I don't think so as this soup was made up of food I had to hand, some fresh and some which I had frozen as left overs, I decided, 'Soup ~ From What You Have To Hand' would be a good title.... after all that is what the soup is made up of.

Now the problem with sharing this soup is that technically, nothing is weighed, as I have used leftovers.  So I have given you a rough guide to the amounts I used.


6 tomatoes (mine were frozen)
1 large mugful of frozen rice
3 medium sized carrots
1/2 onion
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 litre of chicken stock
sea salt to taste


Boil a kettle of water.
Place the frozen tomatoes into a Pyrex jug or bowl
pour over the boiling water.
(You will see my jug wasn't large enough for 6 tomatoes, so I removed the skins of 4 and then the other 2)

After a few minutes you will see the skins begin to release themselves from the tomato flesh.

Using a slotted spoon, remove a tomato from the water and peel away the tomato skin. Yes it really is that easy.  The tomato will remain frozen, but it will thaw during the cooking process.

Continue until all the tomato skins have been removed.

Peel and chop the carrots.
Peel and chop the onion.

Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a medium sized
pan and add the chopped onion.
Cook until translucent.

Add the chopped carrots,

the frozen rice,
and the tomatoes.

Pour the chicken stock into the pan.  
Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

When cooked, allow the soup to stand for 10 minutes.

Using a hand held blender, blitz the soup
until it is smooth.

Taste for seasoning and add salt.

Then all there is left to do,

is pour the soup into a dish

In case you are wondering why I used only half an onion. Well, that is what I had left after making a quiche and I needed to use it up.

The rice was frozen as it was not eaten after I made a chilli at the weekend.  What I would say is, if you are nervous about reheating frozen rice, then add half a large mug of uncooked rice as it will cook whilst the soup is simmering. When blitzed, the starch from the rice helps to thicken the soup.

The frozen tomatoes were some which I knew we wouldn't be using, so I just popped them whole, into a freezer bag and placed them into the freezer, for such a time, when I would use them.

If you find your soup has not thickened enough, just return the pan to the heat and simmer gently, without the lid, until you have the consistency you enjoy.

With a little thought, nothing should be wasted.  I know it isn't always easy, but I see food in my fridge and freezer as money.  It has been spent.... and I would never throw money away.

.... and as Ivy and Phyllis would say, 'Waste not Want not'.

Oh before I leave you, I know some of my friends are experiencing a heatwave, especially in Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Spain and soup would be the last thing on your mind.... but here in Newcastle, it is unseasonally cold, so actually for us, soup is the perfect lunch.

Take care and I will see you next week.

As Always,

Thursday, 3 August 2017


Good Morning to you,

When it comes to gardening, I have a clear idea of the style of garden I want to create. This comes from creating many different gardens in the many different homes we have lived in.  Not for me the formal style of garden. Not at all, give me curved, undulating borders, which are overflowing with flowers.  I love flowers which self seed and pop up in the most unexpected places.  It can make for a very interesting border. 

.... but the one thing I really have to think about, before any planting begins, is where to place my whirligig.

I could not live without my whirligig, because I love to see my washing blowing in the wind. When I unpeg the dry washing and take it indoors, I just love the fresh, outdoor smell.

.... and there is definitely a difference when it comes to drying sheets in a tumble dryer versus sheets which have been dried on a washing line. To my mind, no amount of 'perfumed smellies' can recreate that fresh, outdoor smell.

Sadie, my mother in law, used to watch the weather closely, before deciding whether or not to hang out her washing to dry and Phyllis, my mother, is exactly the same. A short break in the overcast weather was enough to have both Sadie and Phyllis dashing outdoors to allow their washing to blow in the wind, even if it was for half an hour.  Of course on days when rain threatened, they had to be vigilant and probably spent most of the time keeping an eye out for the rain.  But each felt it was worthwhile to allow their washing to blow in the wind, even for a short amount of time.

Both Phyllis and Sadie have a washing line which runs almost the length of their garden.  Phyllis' washing line is on a pulley system, so that when the washing is pegged, she uses the pulley system to hoist the washing line high in the air, to allow the washing to blow in the wind.

Sadie, is slightly different, because although the washing line is the same, Sadie uses a clothes prop. When all the washing has been pegged out, the clothes prop is placed in the centre of the washing line, so that the line can be pushed upwards, again, to allow the washing to blow in the wind.

Both Phyllis and Sadie, would never entertain a whirligig.  For them, a whirligig is on the same level as a tumble dryer..... to be avoided at all costs.  But I like whirligigs, because when the washing has dried, the whirligig can be closed and stored in the garage, hidden from view, until the next time it is needed.

So where abouts in our new garden, should my whirligig live.

I have a little system which I employ when deciding where to place it in any new garden. I watch for a few days to see how the sun plays out in the garden and to see which direction the wind mostly blows. Then only when I am satisfied that I have found the perfect place, will George begin digging a hole big enough for the heavy concrete base.  

Now I think you can see, just at the bottom of the picture the base I am talking about.... I have to tell you it is really heavy.

.... and are you wondering why it is half in the ground with the other half above the surface.

Well..... apparently, I am told, it's just in case I change my mind about the placement of the whirligig. Those are George's words, not mine.

The first time George did this, I thought he had only dug half the hole, but he said no, it's because experience has taught him, that I am just as likely to ask him to dig another hole, in a different position. He says it's because when I begin to plant the borders, I am inclined to plant large plants like foxgloves too close to the whirligig..... so much for my well thought out system. Although, I have no memory of doing this, maybe I have a selective memory, who knows.

I will let you know if the washing line stays in place or if it finds a new home. Actually, as the garden evolves, you will probably notice yourself if there is any change.

Oh just one thing before I leave you.

It occurred to me, that last week, I told you about our new neighbour, who bought us a beautiful Chrysanthemum plant, as a gift to welcome us to the neighbourhood, but I forgot to show you a photograph.

Isn't it a beauty.  I have enjoyed it indoors for a few weeks, but I then remembered that Chrysanthemums love to be outdoors, so I have placed it just outside the conservatory, where it will catch some sun and also the rain.

.... and we were gifted with not just 1 plant, but 2.

My lovely friends from my sewing group, presented me with this gorgeous Dahlia.... it is really stunning.

Like I said to you last week, I feel really lucky to have such lovely friends.

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

As Always,

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