Monday, 27 April 2015

Elefanta island.

A year ago, to the day, I was in Mumbi, curry for breakfast... The day spent on Elefanta Island, then swimming.... Magical. 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Children's holiday

In celebration of the Turkish parliament being established in 1920, the day is marked with a holiday - each year following originally it was a Sovereignty day, then it was made Children's Day in 1927. School is out but the lower years are expected to go to school for flag waving. Banks and governmental building are closed (shopping malls are open of course!)

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Emirgan Park - Tulip festival, part 3 - the ugly.....


So you just got married, 

Where do you go for your pictures?? 
Yes the Tulip Festival - of course - it will be nice and quiet .... hahahaha
it is quite usual to see brides in the parks - registry offices are usually quite dire places, not everyone can afford a hotel with nice grounds for pictures,  however why get all hufffy about small kids photobombing your wedding pics when you choose such a public place. 
These people really ...... 
Tutting once again..... 
The purple and black wedding dress was really not very flattering..... she was quite a substantial bride and it made her look more like a summer pudding than a meringue. There were 4 fully covered brides in the park.....

Monday, 20 April 2015

Emirgan Park - Tulip festival, part 2 - the bad.....

Ok - so the pictures don't look too bad - but it was packed, seriously packed - the whole of istanbul decided that Friday at 4pm would be the perfect time to go to the park.... I can imagine a warm sunny Sunday only being like one of the lower levels of hell (however given that this Sunday was rainy and drizzly then it may have been a cool idea.... )

Maybe I am a bit old fashioned but I kind of think that play stuff like this - with a huge sign saying 'for kids - up to 10 years' should not really be used by adults, and really ladies wearing a full niqab really shouldn't worry about who should see up their cloaks whilst at the top and shout up other ladies in similar attire from their group to protect their modesty, if they choose to disobey the rules .... really it could have been quite comical, unfortunately the drama just blocked up the whole climbing tower for the kids it is supposed to serve. We left before it was resolved.... tutting in disbelief..... maybe I am too British?

Sunday, 19 April 2015


It took ages to find this tree, I love the spring lime green of its leaves, we have Ari-Tatil the week.... Bee holiday?? ... Half term. 

Emirgan Park - Tulip festival, part 1 - the good.....

Emirgan Park hosts an anual tulip festival - of course everyone knows tulips are Turkish - not Dutch. There are millions of tulips and a similar number of people in the park - Istanbul is ranked the 5th largest city in the world - official population is 14.5m, but unofficial is around 25% greater due to the number of people who do not move their registration for what ever reason. Of course there is a growing illegal population also. So lets say 1 tulip per person ..... maybe - it is huge, slightly scented, interspaced with grape hyacinths. It is free to enter. However after about 45 mins, it's enough....
*15th for metropolitan area - Still beats London......

Friday, 17 April 2015

Rainbow Snowflake - fussy cutting.

hummmm... decisions decisions .....

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Plum Split

This is quite a simple design - we saw something on youtube (the coach and I) and liked it.... this is not at all like the original ...hehe... this is the prototype (there are 12+ to make, I can't afford the time to fix design faults... we amended the design slightly .... 6 cut and being prepped for sewing whilst supervising homework.... but Rainbow snowflake will take priority once I get the design signed off by the parents - another group leotard, but a competition level one..... more work - more design - etc.....

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Apple I hate you

uff, everything works, then they do an update.
oh so good..... (please not hint of sarcasm)
I need a tech support to come round and do this for me, I hate updates!
If it ain't broke don't fix it....
I will kill my day now trying to get everything to sync together.... iPads, iMac, iPhone, iPod - 
it's supposed to be a seamless system - I feel I am constantly unpicking and re-stitching.....

no picture because it is on my phone...... ufff......

Monday, 13 April 2015

The Bosporous

The Bosphorus filled with fog .... The Bosphorus - it is magical - the colour changes with each day almost hourly sometimes, if you walk by it you can see submarines (yes - whilst pram pushing the twins) beautiful yachts, fishing boats, dolphins and tankers of all sorts - sometimes I wish I paid more attention to twitchers and learnt bird names.....
The colour of the water changes, sometimes like milk, white, sometimes clear as crystal, the deep parts show as different ribbons of reflection on the surface. The Turkish name is Boğaziçi  which translates to throat - the throat that joins the black sea to the Marmara, Aegean and then Mediterranean.

Saturday, 11 April 2015


The aquarium is near the airport - it is beautiful - pricy, but so is everything in Istanbul. It is really well done, T2's finger pointing to the shark swimming above us in one of the tunnels, they have a petting area where you can touch creatures. The starfish and bright anemones and the monster fish caught my eye. This was the second time I have been - the first was because I wanted to go to Ataturk's summer house - which is next door. It was closed for renovation, hence ending up in the Aquarium (it is a schlep across the city to the opposite side) I've yet to go to Ataturk's summer house... another day....

Friday, 10 April 2015

Trip out to the Kapali Carsi

The fabric I use for the leotards is quite specific weight 4 way stretch lycra from Korea, I have found just 2 places that sell this - they are 50m apart from each other in the Kapali Carsi (Grand/Covered bazaar) .... they have nearly similar stock....
It is Leotard season and I needed fabric..... I have quite a regular route, I take public transport because quite honestly it is fantastic, cheap, safe, clean and easy.
This part of the city is a hill - so I go to the Kapali Carisi first then walk down through Tartakale, making stops for stones and hair stuff, to the Misir Carsi (Spice Bazaar)
I have never quite known who is good, bad or ugly in there .... however I have now found a great spice seller... quite a cute shop however no pictures on their website.....
The whole area is under renovation, swathed in plastic like some Christo sculpture.... I stopped at my usual lunch place and lumbered to the metro above the Golden Horn.
This station not only has the most stunning views, it is a beautiful piece of very modern architecture in the middle of this ancient city....

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Brown Flower - Finished

The remit for this was for a young 7 year old - and something fun and modestly priced. Ended up as a hire rather than sale.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Brown flower leo - in progress

The leotard in progress - and original fabric - pained with spots - stoning started.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Zorlu Center - Kids Park

Istanbul has an intervention requiring addiction to shopping malls - OK the first covered shopping mall was built here - no, America - this was BEFORE you were 'discovered'.
1455, the Kapali Carsi....
Anyway it seems down this in particular road there is a mall every 50m, there are 3 malls next to each other at one point. This one is HUGE - it was under construction for 4+ years - open around 9 months ago I think - anyway - I had heard about the park - how it has a great slide.... one that moms sneak onto.... I will do that perhaps the next quiet day I can bring a child as a decoy ..... way too many tutting moms lecturing about clothing, grandmas lecturing about safety, dads tap taping on their smart phones, and random uncles hunting.... on Saturday.
T2 at 10 yrs old protested at leaving - the climbing frame and towers were perfect - Miss P just spent most of the time sliding - there were mini trampolines set into the ground, climbing areas, things that turned, holes all sorts of stuff - super cool! Well done Zorlu....

Sunday, 5 April 2015

E group re-make

They should have all been ready for Wednesday - but the day long power cut on Tuesday put paid to that one..... they were ready Thursday. Worn this weekend at the Turkish Gymnastic federation competition - first round - the team got 2nd place! T1 got to go to Konya before I did .... uff....

Friday, 3 April 2015

Pink Cactus - Finished

All done - It needs something around the neck - but it has been worn, competed in and admired... I didn't put any stones there so I can add something - I have some red stones and one big one left.... an idea needs to hatch - I am drained of inspiration with this leotard now.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Starbucks name

Whats in a name?
A lot of my friends have 'Starbucks names', yep - a different name so the barista - or the order taker can spell something you can recognise at the end of the bar when your drink is served.... Alas here is the problem - Turkish is an entirely phonetic language, it has some missing letters (W for example) some extra letters, some dots and missing dots .... then vowel harmony - something we do not even comprehend as native speakers - it is in some other languages also.
Fortunately the grammar is strictly rule driven and there is no gender.
Dawn does not conform (yep those who know me for real will laugh at that one!) but it just throws them into a loop.....
I am Helen....
Try a name like Jack - would become Cak.... Turkish however is simple - you say what you see, once you know the sounds, so a name like Ufuk Şit - becomes quite hilarious.... (Ş - is a English Sh sound...) oh - yes it is a real name - honest!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

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