Can, Yucel and I headed off to the Seychelles in August. And since we are now in December all depressed by the short days and cold weather I thought it would be perfect timing to bring out turquise waters of the ocean.
Now even though it was a short holiday with a long haul flight, travelling with a baby has its limitations. Frankly speaking it also requires alot of preparation and strategy building regarding the necessary equipment, food, diapers, disposable bibs etc etc... I read somewhere (though it is an exagaration) that travelling with a baby required more preparation that an army waging out to war.
Ours was pretty cool though. The champagne cooler made a perfect strelizer for baby bottles :)

In search of the route that William and Katherine took we headed to Victoria where via a catamaran we reached the Silhouette Island/ Labriz Resort and Spa (Hilton) with a journey that took roughly 2 hrs. The waters is pretty rocky as a side note.
Some travel notes:
  • Here is the link to the resort :http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/SEZLBHI-Hilton-Seychelles-Labriz-Resort-Spa/index.do
  • The capital of Victoria is home to a very pretty restaurant called `Marie Antoinette` cooking the regional food.
  • Seychelles is great for all water related activities from shark diving, snorkelling to fishing.
  • Silhouette Island renowned as a nature park is also great for daily hikes.

Marie Antoinette Restaurant


"Dişbugdayi" / First teeth celebration

This is one of the Turkish traditions for the baby. Where the families celebrate and welcome his first teeth.
We welcomed Can's first teeth this November and along with it came a family celebration over a Sunday tea-time table.
For the table setting let your imagination go wild. Cookies, cakes, quiches, pies the sky is the limit.
But there is one element that must prevail along with a tradition to back it.

The cooking of wheat.This is where the name "disbugdayı" derives from (teeth+wheat). Its supposed to create abundance and blessing for the baby.

Cook 400 gr wheat, bring to boil and set it aside to rest for a day.
On the morning of the celebration add 1 glass of icing sugar, a handfull of chickpeas, peeled pomengranates, almonds, hazelnuts, dried apricots, dried raisins, dried cranberries to the wheat and decorate with colourful bonbons, Turkish delights, dried fruit. ( whatever takes your fancy really...)

Before you serve put in one or two coins or beads as a surprise. Whoever finds these on their plate is supposed to buy gifts for the baby:)

At the end of the day: one big happy smile :)

Neckwarmers !

Finally, its December. I don't know why but apart from April and September, this month is one of my favourites in the annual calendar.
Maybe because it marks new beginnings or hope, or maybe its just the twinkling lights scattered everywhere in the city that lifts my spirits up.
Its also a great time to share gifts with your loved ones and cuddle up as much as possible with a hot cocoa.

Neckwarmers are a great gift to prepare and share on these chilly days.
Here is one of my favourites! (Ps: I am lucky as my mother-in-law has been kind enough to prepare one just for me!)


Canan Tolon and Elvan Alpay

Turkish comtemporary art is growing exponentially. I have become particularly fond of the works of two artists namely Canan Tolon and Elvan Alpay thanks to my cousin Selen who's been working with them at GaleriNev. Their work is amazing and in my opinion they are sight for sore eyes both graphically and  emotionally.
Canan Tolon's inspiration is the industrial and architectural backdrop of San Francisco streets and buildings. Where as Elvan Alpay's work is spurt of flower power from the canvas.

Canan Tolon exhibition is due to start on 17th September at GaleriNev, Istanbul.
Here's a couple of their pieces.
Elvan Alpay, Galerinev

Elvan Alpay, GaleriNev

Canan Tolon, GaleriNev

Canan Tolon, GaleriNev


Inspiration: Gaziantep's Kutnu cloths

Kutnu is a kind of cloth locally produced in Gaziantep region and Anatolia. Kutnu actually derives from "cotton" but today the cloth is produced with silk, cotton or a combination of both.
The designs of kutnu reminded me of the style of Turkish designers such as Rifat Ozbek and Atil Kutoglu. I do wonder if it was a source of inspiration for them?

Gaziantep: Land of pistachios and kebabs

It was a family affair. I never thought pistachios or baklava would play such a huge role in my life.

This weekend approximately 20-30 members of our family from my father-in-laws close relatives were in Gaziantep to discover their roots and much more.
Gaziantep, one of the main cities in Turkey is renowned for its food culture. Bordering close to Syria the influence of the immenent Middle Eastern culture is very apparent.
For us however the main question was "how many kebab restaurants and patisseries can we fit into our 48 hour schedule?". Everyone was enthusiastic especially about our tastebuds.

Some sights in Gaziantep include the castle (Gaziantep kalesi), the formerly Armenian church- now the Kurtulus Mosque and the spice bazaars. 

Below I will share some recommendations for food. But before I do I have to mention a place of visit, that should be on everyone's routes as they travel South East Turkey: The Zeugma Mosaic Museum.
The museum is yet to be officially opened and houses many of the mosaics undercovered during the archeological digs to the ancient city of Zeugma. Unfortunately, the ancient city is covered by a dam with which dozens of similiar mosaics drowned underwater.
If not for the mosaics the museum should ve visited for the bronze Mars sculpture dating to 2 AD.The pictures from the museum will be my next post, but here is a bundle of pictures of the mosaics that I have found from the internet.
(Source: http://www.zeugmaweb.com/)

On to the food...

- For the best "Katmer" : Orkide pastanesi
Katmer is layers of pastry filled with pistachios, butter and clotted cream.
-For kebabs: Imam Çağdaş and Üçler
Three differenst kebabs were of interest to us:
1) Keme kebab: Keme is a local grown mushroom type of vegetable.
2) Yeni Dunya kebab:  Yeni dunya is a fruit , a type of plum that was very interesting to taste cooked.
3) Garlic kebab: It is the season for fresh garlic. Once grilled with the minced meat it is caramelized with pomengranate syrup.
-For "Lahmacun": Imam Çağdaş
Lahmacun aka the Turkish pizza, is minced meat-tomatoes-onion-parsley all shredded in tiny particles to be placed on the thin dough and oven cooked.
-For "Şöbiyet" and "Baklava": Zeki Inal
These are special deserts made with pistachios, pastry and syrup.
- For "Yuvalama" and other home made foods: Kırkayak Gaziantep Evi
Yuvalama is a type of soup, yoghurt-based, with chickpeas, bulgur balls and shredded lamb meat.


The Royal Wedding: A Great day for British Fashion

I don't know about you but last Friday- on the day of the Royal Wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William I was up at 9 am infront of the telly anxiously waiting for the ceremony to begin and of course to learn the designer of Kate's dress.

It turns out roughly 6 billion people like myself were waiting for this event as well.
Its a great number and a wonderful recognition for British designers and for their names to be heard around the world.
Catherine Walker, the designer for many of Princess Diana's dresses designed Carole Middletons morning coat and dress.
Repercussions of Philip Treacy hats were everywhere as below with Victoria Beckham.

And of course  the wedding dress for Kate Middleton: Sarah Langdon for Alexander McQueen . Grace Kellysque gown did wonders to represent the modern fairy tale between the couple. 

Our little one is growing !

The past 1.5 month has been interesting as I have tried (and continue to) understand what motherhood was all about. It is a commitment to say the least.
It is worth every minute and effort... especially if at the end of the day you get a smile like this ...
Here's Can growing up very rapidly and his very first smile.