Saturday, 26 January 2019


Good Afternoon to you,

I am sorry I was not with you last week, but I was struck, for the second time, with the awful virus which seems to be effecting many people. The first time, was just before Christmas, which was bad enough, but oh my word, the second time was dreadful, but I am pleased to say, that today, I am feeling much, much better.

So what have I been up to this past few days? 

I have done something which generally I do every 6 months, although since we moved house, I have to say, I have let it slide a little. It is also something I have never blogged about. But I thought to myself, as the years go by, I notice my blog is becoming more of a life style blog, so I thought I would share something completely different today.

I say different, I am not re-inventing the wheel, because I know that both Ivy, my Grandmother and Phyllis, my Mother did this on a regular basis.

....they always cleaned and organised their kitchen cupboard shelves.

So today,

I will be giving you a glimpse into my kitchen cupboards.

With the cupboard doors closed, everything looks neat and tidy,

but I will just open the first cupboard to show you what is inside.... mmm not too bad, 
although I notice that I have chickpeas and butter beans on two different shelves.
To be fair, I think tins and jars are always
easy to organise in our cupboards.

Onto the second cupboard,

oh my goodness... this tells a different story.
 These shelves are certainly disorganised,

As you can see, everything in the last 2 cupboards have been put back rather haphazardly. 
It's time to do something about it and
sort these cupboards.

I think for today though, I will show you how I organised the first cupboard, otherwise if I show you how I organised the 3 cupboards, you will be bored to tears and you will certainly be on kitchen cupboard overload.

The first thing I did, was to remove everything from the cupboard. I then put the tins and jars into order. I was amazed how many different types of beans I had stored in the cupboard.... none is ever wasted because I use tin beans quite a lot in my cooking.

I then checked the dates.... 
oops look what I found,

These 2 items had escaped my attention.  To be honest I cannot remember buying Chestnut Puree, because it is something I have never used.... maybe I had a recipe in mind, but never got around to making it.  The Mung Beans, I only use occasionally and this jar obviously escaped my attention.  I did wonder if I could use them this week, but I'm sorry to say, the chestnut puree was dated 2017.... and the Mung Beans were dated 2018.... ouch.

I then washed the shelves with soapy water and dried them thoroughly.

Before I returned everything to the cupboard, I made a list of all the items.

Then I placed all tins and jars back into the cupboard, not alphabetically, although that probably would have been a good idea, but I put the butter  beans together, black beans together and so on.

The final thing I did was to place the list of contents inside a cellophane wallet and blue tacked it onto the cupboard door.... again with hindsight, it probably
would have been a good idea to list everything
alphabetically.... but I can do this next time I
re-organise my shelves. 
The idea of the list is, when I use something I can cross it off my list and instead of guessing and routing through the cupboard for something, I can see at a glance what I have stored.

The one difference between my cupboards and Ivy and Phyllis' cupboards, was that I did not line my shelves, as my shelves wipe clean very easily.  But both Ivy and Phyllis would have used a pretty lining paper to line their shelves. 

After I finished the 1st cupboard, I was feeling very pleased with myself, so I closed the cupboard door,

knowing that behind the cupboard door, everything was neat and tidy.

Now to tackle the rest of the cupboards.

Take care and I will see you next week.

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, 

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