Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Quick Hello

 Thanks for your comments on my last post...  If you are interested in my weekend in Istanbul, there  is now a short video (5 mins) on YouTube *HERE* at the end I have a couple of minutes showing an ice cream vendor in action - they are renowned for their pranks... hope you enjoy it.  Apologies for the quality, I am getting used to a new camera and also making videos is still quite new to me so I need plenty of practice!

The heavy rain this week has not prevented me gardening.  I cut back a lot of overgrown creeper and recycled.  I use some old carpet to roll the branches and cuttings so I can get it into my car and out again without any mess, then I roll the carpet up again ready for next time.

View from the conservatory, peonies were 70 per cent off at the supermarket this week!

Mine is a very tiny garden but it is packed with flowers and herbs.  There's lots of lemon mint around which makes it smell lovely.

I have had a few nice wins on EBay which I will post soon, stashing things suitable for India's climate when we visit later in the year.  Back soon...

Thursday, 30 May 2019

This week

The map is on the wall!! which means we are definitely saving to go to India at the end of this year ...
Evenings are spent planning our itinerary - the planning is half the fun!

So I have been putting away the odd EBay kaftan in anticipation.  This win was a good one, obscurely listed at 99p and nobody else bid, label is Bolam.  I can't find anything about the label unless it's a very pricey designer label called Bolam Lifestyle who source their clothes from India, some are hand woven/dyed.

It seems brand new, natural cotton, looks more shapely on, snug fit with a panel at each side that drapes.  It shed some dye when gently washed (with baby shampoo as per *Vintage Vix advice*).  I deliberately chopped my head off this pic as it's a bad hair day :)

Here's another EBay find for under a fiver, nice and light, semi transparent, to go over a bikini.
I like the idea of buying something repurposed, not spending very much so that if my luggage gets lost  it won't matter too much.

You wouldn't think it reading this post, but I'm not a clothes person.  I buy for comfort and practicality and natural fibre; that's all the thought that goes in  as I can't stand shopping, especially in places where you are given too much salesforce attention!  I have, however, become more aware of the impact on our environment from buying cheap, mass produced clothing so am quite pleased to be shopping in a mildly eco friendly way lately.

the un-eco friendly hat with my Ebayed East top

My new sun hat, worn in Cape Verde, really made me think about the environment: lasting all of four days before a  nasty long plastic brim wire started working loose.  I was concerned for the possibility of it ending up in the sea and took the wire home to recycle. So far no suitable eco friendly substitute found.

Here's a beautiful coat for you - it's Amber cat's ... she turned 17 this week.  She suffers from matted fur as she is now too stiff to reach and groom her  shoulders/back due to old age (despite still being able to struggle up to the shed on a good day)  so I have been grooming her a lot.

Finally before I go, I remembered to use Book Crossings website for my unwanted books.   Last time I registered books, I just left them in random places, but this time I donated to a local charity shop, putting the Book Crossing reference inside the book so the new owner can participate if they want by logging the destination of the book on the website.   This is a great way to recycle and a bit of fun if your book finds an owner who travels - as we live close to the airport, there's a good chance it may go far.

Thursday, 23 May 2019


A sunny weekend in Istanbul, lots of sight seeing,  good food and rest.  .

This was our little guest house, our room had a traditional Turkish bathroom where you have a hose over the bowl and use the copper dish to scoop water over yourself.  I think this place was a little quirky, it had a tiny little courtyard onto the cobbled street where we sat in the evenings watching the neighbourbood cats.  It felt very quiet and calm, yet we were only about a 10 minute walk from the Blue Mosque and main attractions.

Our guest house was in the road above, close to these little ramshackle wooden houses and a very grubby cafe.  The man next door to the cafe had a duck, presumably as it had no pond, the paddling pool is what house ducks get?  You could see he was a much loved duck, circling his little pool happily with a bowl of wet bread to dip in to and the company of his owner relaxing in the sun together (they agreed to having their picture taken).


We found the Grand Bazaar where flags were being sold to commemorate Attuturk/the Anniversary of Turkey's independence.  A lot of buildings were displaying huge flags and the ones above were for people to put up on their houses. 

Rough translation = to please God brings abundance

Our first sight of the Blue Mosque was at night.  As we are in the month of Ramadan, there were a vast number of people in the park surrounding the Mosque.  They had laid out picnics and were waiting for sundown to eat together.  It was a lovely atmosphere to be a part of.  On the Sunday night there was a huge crowd, we were drawn closer by the loud music to find the crowd was actually a spiraling circle of about 500 men all dancing, spiralling out as more joined in. 

The Grand Bazaar goes on for ever and is laid out with a street for each category, so you would get a haberdashery road, a road for vegetables, one for ironmongery, another for shoes and so on.

There were, of course, millions of turkish carpets for sale, but we didn't buy (we have a very nice one already) but it was fun to chat with the vendors, many of whom spoke good English and told us they came to Istanbul in the Summer but worked in rural areas at other times, we met a sheep farmer and a crop farmer and learned that tulips come originally from Turkey and were introduced to Amsterdam.  The road from the airport on arrival had been lined with many white tulips.

We found that all transport was free on 19th May, part of the Attaturk celebration - so we made the most of it and took the tram to the docks and on to a ferry across the Bosphorous River which divides Istanbul into two parts to  Kadekoy.  Locals get this ferry to go to work and market daily so it was crowded. On the other side the City has a smaller market, mainly fish, and a Turkish bath.

We ate with the locals. No alcohol is served so we would have a few beers in the evening back at the guest house.

This was Turkish pizza, ver light stoneground dough with cheese and spinach, the puff in the background is a kind of bread and there was salad of olives, tomato and onion.

My Ebay skirt got plenty of wear, being very light and cool.

Squat toilets aren't the best, you rinse with a bucket and refill for the next person.

This pretty pile of pots and pans was at the back of a cafe where everyone was smoking hooka pipes.

 This is one of many picnics we saw being laid out hundreds of people were out setting up, waiting for sunset so they could eat together.

 more food:  this was from a buffet at sundown, you queue up to get your food in the cafe then you wait until a seat is available at the little wobbly tables on the pavement, trams whiz past so you have to keep your elbows in!

 I had vegetable and rice, hubby had some chicken.... everything was hot and delicious.

 This man was selling fruit, he didn't mind having his picture taken.  His little makeshift stall was held up by his moped on the other side.

 This was the entrance to the gardens of the Palace, we didn't go inside the Palace as the queue was very long and it was so hot to wait.  The gardens were full of red roses.

 More food, this was a flaky pastry with potato inside, so delicious I had it two days running!

Carpets on tables, lovely cold beer.  This was a tourist restaurant, so licensed for alcohol.  I had hummus with olives and flat bread here.

 Above is Baclava, it's our favourite dessert which we have for birthdays and treats at home, but it's far better here.  Flaky filo pastry with syrupy honey and filled with pistachio nut.  We ate at this little open air cafe on our first night, it was raining so they put up some plastic coverings.

The streets are immaculate, there is a huge army of street cleaners out all hours.  Every corner has a stand for corn on the cob and chestnuts.

 It was only a few pence to go inside the Basilica (underground fresh water system for the city), it was undergoing some rennovation.  Very beautiful inside, dark, nice and cool. 

 These beautiful heads are Medusa, there were three like this, all the others were undecorated, hundreds of them, then these three in the centre.

I am showing my travel card, you get it from machines around the streets and load it up with cash, then you can use the trams, buses and ferry with it.  It cost 10 Lira and lasts 24 hours, because we had purchased when travel was free, we benefitted the following day with a free bus back to the airport!

Istanbul has a new airport, it rivals Dubai.  It's vast, futuristic and beautiful, but in the design they forgot to put in some travelators so a lot of walking from one end to the other is involved.

Istanbul New Airport

For us, the trip was about meeting the people, eating locally, seeing the markets and the challenge of getting around on public transport. Sorry for the lack of pics of the Mosque, there were so many people in there and they were doing renovations so not much to see other than the ceilings ...

I have filmed the ice cream vendors who do quite an entertaining act, can't find the film! will add when I do.  Hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of our trip.  I think we were very lucky to see so much in a weekend.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Preloved finds

I have found a few pretty things for my holidays.

My kaftan is from Hot Lava, it's a label I have bought before but expensive new.    I love it's  pretty flower print, semi transparent lightweight cotton and sparkly neckline, brand new with tags and mine for under a fiver.

My favourite things are from East and their Anokhi range.  Sadly they ceased trading.  My maxi skirt is lightweight Indian cotton  and in mint as new condition for under a fiver.   I recall admiring the same skirt  many years ago forlornly as it was beyond my budget.  All good things come to he who waits.  I will wear it on our forthcoming weekend in Istanbul, with denim jacket and leather cloggs.

I am finding lately there is a lot more pleasure to be found in preloved than new.  Less likely that someone else will be wearing your outfit, environmentally friendly to recycle and a lot less cost involved.