Istanbul

It’s July 1st and today we leave Istanbul for the coast. We’ve had the most amazing time in the city – even after the events of Tuesday evening. Once we had reassured everyone that we were miles away from the airport, the scale of the atrocity began to sink in. The people of Istanbul, and Turkey as a whole, are already suffering from hugely decreased tourism this year, and now it seems the industry may grind to a halt. Our hotel was practically empty, and we were treated like royalty wherever we went. The Grand Bazaar was empty yesterday morning. I truly feel so sad for these wonderful people who are being hit hardest – the terrorists are unfortunately achieving one of their goals.

As I write this I am sitting in the domestic terminal in awe at how ‘normal’ it all feels. I’ve had 2 pat downs, which is reassuring, and for some reason my mentality has firmly remained ‘sod the bastards, I’m not bending’, rather than giving into fear. We’ve also managed to keep the kids blissfully unaware of specific events and their main concern remains when they will get their next cheese pide!

So the world still turns and we will still travel – the greatest education for all is to accept and embrace the other cultures of the world. With deeper acceptance and awareness, we may all still hope for peace.

Istanbul 1Top – Mango (old) // Jeans – Zara (on sale here) // Shoes – Castañer // Bag – Hill & Friends

istanbul 2 Istanbul 3 Istanbul 4 Istanbul 5 Istanbul 6 Istanbul 7 Istanbul 8Top – Madewell (old) // Jeans – Zara (on sale here) // Shoes – Madewell (on sale here with an extra 20% off with code META20) // Bag – Hill & Friends

Istanbul 9 Istanbul 11Dress – & Other Stories (in sale) // Bag – Hill & Friends // Shoes – Soludos

Istanbul 12 Istnabul 10Dress – Madewell

Follow me on Instagram @PoppysStyle to see where we are now!

A birthday, Willie Nelson and President Carter!

What a busy week! My mum and dad arrived on Tuesday just in time for Poppy’s 10th birthday on the 18th. It was quite cute at the airport – I collected Hugh and Poppy from school early as they had prepared welcome posters for Nana and Grandad!

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On Wednesday, while the kids were at school, we went for some gentle shopping to DSW while the jet lag dissipated. Mum also loves to head to Ulta where she stocks up on OPI nail polish – one of the few things that is still cheaper here!

dsw2Shoes – Isabel Marant // Jeans – Zara // Top – AllSaints // Bag – Balenciaga

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We came out of DSW empty handed but I did grab a couple of tops in the sale at Old Navy – somewhere I haven’t shopped for years. It made me curious so I checked out their website later and look at these amazing swimsuits – 40% off and a GREAT tribute to the incredibly expensive Marysia swimsuits. The one piece is currently sold out online but check stores, and I was told there would be more stock online soon.

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I also saw similar on J.Crew’s website here, currently 25% off with code SUMMER.

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On Wednesday evening we all went out to dinner for my gorgeous girl’s 10th birthday – how did this wee thing…

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….end up this big?

old navy CollageShorts and tee – Old Navy here and here // Sandals – Avarcas Pons

dinner CollageShoes – Sam Edelman (old) // Jeans – Zara (old) // Top – Gap // Bag – Balenciaga

Thursday meant a trip to Target. I was absolutely surprised how many things I loved! Check out what ended up in my cart!

This denim jacket is fabulous – so soft and I love the sweatshirt sleeves and hoody.

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I’ve ummed and ahhed over a denim waistcoat/vest forever and now have this one at just $29.99.

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I love this top that I picked up too – can’t have too many pretty white tops in the summer!

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Finally – how cute is this dress for nights out in Istanbul!? I love it!

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Mum left Target with more nail polishes! How come she goes shopping and I spend more??? 🙂

targetShoes – TopShop // Jeans – Zara (old) // Top – AllSaints (old)

On Friday we went to the mall and stopped off at a few stores including J.Crew. Not great going in  J.Crew dressed in J.Crew!

JcrewShoes – Golden Goose // Jeans – Zara (old) // T-Shirt – J.Crew (old) // Jacket – J.Crew // Bag – Mansur Gavriel

On Friday evening we were lucky enough to have tickets for Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. My Husband and I have seen Willie before and knew it would be a great treat for Mum and Dad. Unfortunately it was an outdoor venue and the rain was pretty constant – but with cheese and wine the audience loved it. As a massive bonus President Carter, a big Willie fan, was in the audience and he and Rosalynn joined Willie to sing Amazing Grace. Moving stuff. My favorite moment of the night though has to be the legend, Kris Kristofferson, singing one of his most famous songs – ‘Me and Bobby McGee’.

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mum and dad collage

Of course you can always use your M&S bag to stay dry 🙂
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Mum and Dad are now in Fort Myers for a few days so normality has resumed here – at least till Wednesday when they return and school finishes for the summer!!!!

Sunday CollageTop – Gap // Sunglasses – Mango (old) // Jeans – J.Crew // Shoes – & Other Stories

 

Melanoma Awareness Month

May is melanoma awareness month. I am, unfortunately, aware of melanoma every month. Around the age of 41 I noticed a new mole appear on the front of my left thigh. I had it checked at my annual skin exams and was reassured it was all normal. Last year, February 2015, my dermatologist decided to biopsy it. It came back as an in situ melanoma. I was shocked and horrified that a) my initial concerns had been ignored, and that it had taken 3 years to get a biopsy after naively believing my dermatologist that all was ok, and b) that I had cancer – a potentially lethal cancer if it had not been caught when it was.

Cancer of the skin is by far the most common of all cancers. Melanoma accounts for only 1% of skin cancer cases but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths.

Here are the American Cancer Society’s estimates for melanoma in the United States for 2016:

  • About 76,380 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 46,870 in men and 29,510 in women).
  • About 10,130 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 6,750 men and 3,380 women).

The rates of melanoma have been rising for at least 30 years.

Rates of skin cancer in the UK have risen by 360% since the 1970s.

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Much of this increased rate can be attributed to more vacations abroad to sunnier climates since the 1970s. I remember, as a teen, baking in Portugal and Tenerife with no spf, and even using baby oil to ‘intensify’ my tan. Two weeks in the sun each year meant making the most of it, and peeling shoulders were almost a badge of honor. As a young adult in the City I would lay on the sun bed at the gym after a work out. I know when the damage was done.

I am now fastidious about spf application – nothing less than factor 50 and I still have to be careful. I still love the sun, but now spend most of my time in the shade, where it is still possible to get too much sun! I really don’t want to preach – just raise the issue – especially as the UK is enjoying glorious sunshine right now. I expect there are many red faces in the office today. Wearing a facial sunscreen on your neck and face is also the best way to prevent aging – so there is really no reason not to!

This is how my thigh looked after having a tiny mole removed. They have to take a football shaped piece of skin off to ensure the margins were clear.

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Today I still have a scar about 2 inches long that is a constant reminder to use that spf.

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I thank my lucky stars that my mole was somewhere visible, even though it had none of the attributes of a melanoma – irregular shape, color or bleeding – my gut knew it was abnormal. If it had been on my back I may never have seen it to raise concerns. I am also thankful that when I moved to Atlanta friends told me how important an annual skin check is – never something that had even occurred to me in the UK.

These days I invest in a couple of rash guards each year, and wear them over my bikini in the sun. These from Athleta are my favorite as they have a zip a the neckline – making them easier on and off and more flattering. They come in lots of great colors too – I have the black and the purple in a medium.

athleta rash guard

On a final note – my 8 year old son recently had a mole removed for biopsy. It was clear, but I now take both children for annual skin checks too. Always better to be safe…melanoma doesn’t discriminate.

 

 

 

Parenting 101

My 8 year old son, Hugh, was miserable yesterday morning. Tired, grumpy and sulky. He listed off several grievances in the car on the way to school – ‘we boss him around, and don’t appreciate him’ being just two of them.

Normally I would react like this…

Parenting 101

My Husband, however, had a different approach. When I got to work he gave me this letter which he had written for Hugh. We co-signed it and when Hugh returned from school I handed it to him. He accepted it, read it and didn’t say much except ‘it’s a long letter’.

Since reading it he has been eager to please and all smiles. It might not last, but it gave me reason to believe that sometimes kids just want to have their grievances acknowledged, like any adult would. Thank you to my amazing Husband for balancing my quick temper and lack of patience with his thoughtfulness and abundant patience.

(Excuse the couple of typos – it wasn’t proof read before handing it over!)

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The London trip!!

Sorry for my unusually long absence – I normally try to keep blogging while I’m back in the UK but this year my trip is shorter and I’ve been busier! I arrived last Monday morning and then Tuesday my sister and I took my Mum out to Manchester for an early Mother’s Day shopping trip and lunch. It was fabulous fun and we had lunch at a great restaurant, The Alchemist, in Spinningfields. Lots of sharing plates and prosecco!

The Alchemist

The shopping continued though we were quite restrained! We did end up back in Selfridges for a little more prosecco before heading back home. My poor Dad was at home waiting for his supper 🙂 Apparently I led everyone astray…

Earnest Sewn jeans, TopShop bomber jacket, Gucci Soho, Golden GooseBag – Gucci Soho // Sneakers – Golden Goose // Jeans – Earnest Sewn // Top – Zara (old) // Jacket – TopShop // Scarf – Asos

Wednesday was spent pottering at home with my nephews – they grow up so fast and it was lovely to spend time with them – though they are always a tad cautious to start with – Auntie Jo is a bit mad apparently…

On Thursday it was time to head to Laaandaan town. Having lived there for about 8 years in the 90s it’s hard to explain the feeling of ‘heading home’, but at the same time feeling like a tourist! My heart was pounding with excitement when I got off the train at Euston. On Thursday night I headed out south of the river and met up with some old work friends from my graduate training days at PwC. We haven’t seen each other for years and it was so lovely to catch up. I walked across the Millennium Bridge from St. Paul’s to get there and it was simply breathtaking!

St. Paul's Cathedral The Shard, Tower Bridge

On Friday morning I popped by to see Liz, while detoxing with a run through Green Park.

Buckingham Palace

Saturday was the MAIN event! Our annual blogger meet up. I’ve made the most amazing friends from blogging and these are truly some of the most important women in my life. I always plan on taking a tonne of photos but once the prosecco starts flowing we always end up forgetting. The afternoon flies by! I can’t even begin to count the number of topics we covered – none of them fashion related! 😉 Thanks SO much to the following girls for making it such a special day!

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I’ll be back on the other side of the Atlantic tomorrow ready to place my US vote on Super Tuesday, once I’ve hugged my Husband and kids tightly!

 

The birthday weekend

Yup the birthday isn’t till tomorrow but that hasn’t stopped me from celebrating all weekend! After lunch with my husband on Thursday, I ended up with lunch out again on Friday. It was lovely – I headed to my favorite place and dined alone, contemplating the next year, and reviewing my early 40s! I’d done a little shopping in the morning and treated myself to a couple of new lipsticks and a Dior nail polish in Wonderland (the staying power of which is amazing!). It was a lovely indulgent day.

stripesJeans – J.Crew // Top – old AllSaints dress // Shoes – Cypriot sandals

Saturday was spent relaxing by the pool so I didn’t really get dressed. I had a lovely day reading and catching up on my enormous pile of magazines that has accumulated over my vacation.

Today we are off out to brunch – I’m feeling quite virtuous after an intensive spin class. Eggs Benedict may be required to raise my energy levels as I may have committed to getting a couple of guinea pigs for the kids! The cage has been delivered so I may now be held to purchasing two piggies later today! We’re not sure whether we’re going to end up with Patsy and Edina, or Freddie (Mercury) and Brian (May)!

shorts and tee v1Top – AllSaints (sale) // Shorts – J.Crew (on sale with an extra 30% off using COOLSALE) // Shoes – Sam Edelman (last year)

Kantara Castle and The Karpaz

If you follow me on Instagram forgive me as many of these photos have already been shared! We’ve had another busy few days and a couple with no wi-fi so I’m catching up!

The other day we headed to Kantara Castle. The second of the three castles that sit along the ridge of mountains in Northern Cyprus. My husband and I have fond memories of sitting at the top on our honeymoon in 1998.

DSC_0020 DSC_0065Shorts – J.Crew (currently 30% off with GOSHOPPING) // Top – ASOS // Shoes – Birkenstocks

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On Saturday morning we headed into Nicosia/Lefkosa – my first visit to the capital. It is a fascinating place with a walled old town. It is the only city in the world with an international border running through it. These days crossing that border is much easier and we saw many tourists crossing from the Greek side to the Turkish side. We didn’t have our passports with us that day but plan to return to see the Greek side. From what I hear they are suffering with the rest of Greece which explains the number of tourists popping over to the Turkish side for lunch and their counterfeit goods!

DSC_0120 DSC_0164 DSC_0161 DSC_0132Dress – Mango (now on sale) // Shoes – Avarcas Pons // Bag – Target (I have found this to be THE perfect vacation bag – so light and yet roomy)

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You’re not supposed to photograph the border patrol – so here is a sneaky one of my husband with the border in the background. Years ago this street became notorious and was referred to as ‘Murder Mile’ where more than a dozen British soldiers and civilians had been shot dead by the terrorists.

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I fell in love with Lefkosa and I loved the architecture, the people and the ambience. We sat in the courtyard above and drank kahve with the locals. I could do that every weekend.

On Monday we headed to my favorite place in the world – to date anyway – and drove down the Karpaz, which is the pan handle of Cyprus. As soon as you reach the Karpaz you feel as if you are transported to a different time. It is very rural and beautiful, and there are many reminders of the troubles that Cyprus has endured. Beautiful Greek churches remain unused – though it did appear to me that some are being restored. Dipkarpaz is a town towards the end of the Karpaz, and it is still home to Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, with signs in both languages clearly displayed. We had lunch on the way to the beach at a place called Nikos – highly recommended if you are ever here! I fell in love with it – and the story of the owners provided hope for the future. One partner is a Turkish Cypriot and the other a Greek Cypriot – ironically they are both from the opposite ends of the island – with the Turkish Cypriot being from Paphos. Now they run Nikos together serving the BEST fish and calamari we have ever eaten.

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The Karpaz is home to herds of goats and wild donkeys – so much fun to see them roam the fields and cross the road in front of you! The donkeys are very tame and love to be fed carrots from the car window.

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I managed to persuade everyone to stay the night in a hut on the beach – I think it’s the closest I’ll ever get them to camping! I LOVED it!

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IMG_3634 IMG_3644 IMG_3656Shorts – Madewell (in sale here) // Top – Mango (old) // Sunglasses – Warby Parker // Bikini (under top) – J.Crew

IMG_3672 IMG_3677 IMG_3687 IMG_3726Shorts – J.Crew (on sale here plus an extra 30% off with GOSHOPPING) // Tank – Everlane

After a fun drive back, we went out for dinner last night – it felt fabulous to wash away the sand and wash my hair for the first time in a couple of days!

Fun with the kids IMG_3858Dress – Splendid (similar here and here) // Shoes – Ancient Greek Sandals (discounted here)

Our first full day in Istanbul

We arrived late last night and Poppy, Hugh and I were thrilled to be reunited with their Daddy! He had arrived a day earlier to indulge in a little Byzantine culture – our first trip here 24 years ago was to aid his PhD in Ancient History – but we happened to fall in love too. Istanbul is a very special place for us and I am quite surprised it’s taken us so long to get back here!

We were super excited at Manchester airport – Turkish Airlines are one of the best, if not the best airline I have ever flown on!

IMG_3082Poppy’s Hat – Accessorize // My hat – AccessorizeIMG_3087Shoes – Ancient Greek // Shorts – J.Crew (now on sale reduced from $75 to $44.99) // Top – Mango

This morning we began the day with a trip to the Grand Bazaar where Poppy became the only person I know to get something for free instead of having to barter! She is in her element here – people are SO friendly and she is chatting everyone up a storm with her pidgin Turkish!

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With her gifted scarf – just for being cute!

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Date night

Last night my husband and I went out for dinner. The first time, in probably 7 years (when I was last pregnant), that we have been out together without drinking. This not drinking lark really isn’t that difficult, and heading into my third week of sober living I feel a wonderful sense of calm and wellbeing.

Our favorite restaurant recently closed so we headed across town to the Floataway Cafe – another great restaurant with good hearty food. I finished my meal off with the best sticky toffee pudding ever! Thankfully I wore trousers with an elasticated waist – that’s planning for you.

date nightTrousers – Mango // Top – Zara // Shoes – Marks and Spencer (currently with 20% off)

Finally here is an outfit I forgot about from Monday – nothing special – just comfortable for the office.

MondayShoes – Marks and Spencer (old) // Jeans – J.Crew (30% off with SHOPNOW) // T-shirt – Splendid // Cardigan – Gap (old)

24 years later and we’re still giggling

Yesterday was a little anniversary that my husband and I like to celebrate! It was 24 years since we first became an item and had our first kiss in The Central Bar, St. Andrews. I lost a year too somewhere – I spent all yesterday saying it was 23 years!

To celebrate we headed out to our favorite Mexican joint. I had too much tequila 🙂

Husband and II wore my fabulous new TopShop sandals – I LOVE them – I was nervous about the flatform but they feel great on and I love the extra height – they feel dressy. The jeans are new from J.Crew – a lovely light summery wash and they are super soft and stretchy – size down – I’m in a 28″! The detail in this top hasn’t come out very well in this photo – but take a look here it’s beautiful and gorgeous quality linen.

J.Crew 1Top – J.Crew // Jeans – J.Crew // Sandals – TopShop

I also wore my simple septum ring for the first time – I love it and fortunately so does my husband. My kids are staying firmly on the fence about it – I think I’ve put them off piercings for life 😉 You can check out my Pinterest board here for some beautiful images that inspired me.

SeptumEarlier in the day I was running around with various errands and after my AllSaints post I decided to wear another of their dresses that I adore. This is the Pia from a couple of years ago. So easy to wear and it generated plenty of compliments. This one is very similar and is in the sale plus an extra 20% off with code Extra20.

AllSaints Pia dressDress – AllSaints // Boots – Rag&Bone Newbury

Okay I’m off to walk off the margaritas with the dogs – it is a stunning day here in Atlanta – enjoy your long weekend if you are in the UK!!