Archive for November, 2009

Hello hello!

I’m afraid I was wrong, my dears – too optimistic, as usual!

This ‘project’ has beent taking up a lot of my time – I’ve been to bed after midnight several night’s in a row, despite having a new job (temping). Sooo, my time has been spent divided amongst the following:

~ Working.
~ Working on project.
~ Sleeping.
~ Having my Birthday!
~ Relaxing by playing Dragon Age: Origins (I am totally bumming this game – love it!)
~ Eating.

Yep, that’s pretty much it!

Hopefully this project should be done by the end of this week and I’ll be able to resume some sort of normal service.

In the meantime – if you like RPGs, I highl recommend Dragon Age. If you’re more of an FPSer with minor RPG leanings, check out Borderlands – The Boy is loving that, while I’m too into Dragon Age to do more than quite like it.


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Quick Note

Good evening gentlewomen and gentlemen… I’m just jotting this note before bed as a quick explanation – I’ve now got a job (yay), albeit temporary and with this top-secret project I’ve begun, I’ve not had much time for anything! I hope to bring you a Saturday shoe this weekend and perhaps an article about what I love in computer games.

Have a good week, my dears.

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Saturday Shoe Absence

I am afraid I’m feeling rather rotten today (and haven’t had a chance to pre-write any posts this week), so there’s no Saturday shoe to share.  Also, I’m starting work on a new project, which I really want to get a kick-start on.

Hope you’re having a great weekend, my lovelies!

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Ooh, er – I’ve just found a fantastically gorgeous male model who would be perfect as Fehr, the main man of A Thief & A Gentlewoman (unfortunately, I only found him online, not hanging around my house looking yummy – such tribulations!).

Atesh Salih

I trust you’ll agree that he is definitely enough to make a gentlewoman come over all unnecesary.  Has knitwear ever looked so good?

Atesh Salih

Or water?

I’m also extra-excited by the fact that he’s half Turkish Cypriot, like me (the poor guy even has the wildly curly Turkish Cypriot hair).  He’s got Fehr’s green eyes (swoon!) and an amazing bone structure (cor!), though he’s not as dark as Fehr, but, hey, I’m not complaining.  Plus he’s also an actor … maybe I should ask him to audition … hey, a girl can dream!

And don’t worry – he gives good profile:

Atesh Salih

Ding.  Dong.

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Well, not a slapper in that sense, but a slap sole shoe.

Slap sole shoe

These are from the Northampton Museum, which has the world’s largest collection of footwear.  How handy, then, that my mum lives in Northampton!  When I have a new camera, I’ll be paying another visit to the museum, but back to the shoes…

It is believed that they were a gift from Charles II to Lady Hereford in the mid 17th century and originally they were decorated with braid.  Apparently you can still see the stitch lines – it’d be great to get a closer look to try to imagine how they looked originally – I bet they were stunning (and shimmering!).

I love the slap-sole for its ingenious solution to a problem most women will have encountered – a problem even our 17th century ancestors were not immune to – that sinking feeling of walking over grass or dirt in heels.  Check out Bata Shoe Museum’s brilliant podcast/article on this unique style.

I like to think of them as the grandmother of the wedge:


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In the Ottoman Empire, bathing was not just a matter of personal care – it was an opportunity for socialising, display and gossip – much like promenading in a fashionable park on a pleasant afternoon.

Turkish Bathscape

When I wanted my protagonist to have a bit of girl-time with her closest friend, Derry, it seemed the obvious location.  Of course, it also makes for a brilliant excuse to visit one for myself!  I’d like to go to Istanbul itself next year, but in the meantime I’ve found out that there are a couple of ‘Turkish baths’ in nearby and there are various others across the UK.  I think I’ll be booking one as a birthday treat!

The Turkish bath became popular in Britain in the 17th century where they were often combined with coffee houses.  These bagnios, as they were known, were a common sight on London streets and the makers of Channel 4’s City of Vice agree – you’ll recognise them from the first episode.  However, by the mid-18th century the word bagnio had rather different associations – it was a place to meet prostitutes and rent out a room for a few hours with no awkward questions asked!  Ooh er!

However, this didn’t put off those oppressed Victorians – or perhaps it attracted them – for the Turkish bath enjoyed a renaissance in 19th century Britain and it is this English take on the hammam that can be still be visited today across the country.

But let’s get back to the original hammam…

As an everyday part of Ottoman life, the hammam had (and still has) a whole ritual surrounding it complete with the paraphernalia and terminology.

Your first port of call is a small cubicle where you undress, don a pestemal (a brightly coloured, often checked, fabric wrap) and slip on a pair of wooden clogs, or takunyalar.  These clogs were a great opportunity for showing off your wealth with intricate carving and gold or mother of pearl inlay.  They are clearly visible in the images above and below.

The bath proper begins in a hot, humid room, the hararet, where you relax on a heated marble platform (called the gobek tasi), working up the maximum sweat with minimum effort!  Once your attendant has deemed you sweaty enough, you’re led to basin to be scrubbed and washed to within an inch of your life.

Next you might have your hair washed (perhaps with some divine shampoo from your richly decorated tarak kutusu, or ‘comb box’) or request a Turkish massage.  I’m feeling quite envious at this point!  Mmm … massage …

But enough of that – onward to the cold room, or sogukluk.  Here you have a chance to cool down, drink tea and generally relax … Sounds like just the time for checking out who else is bathing today, how richly embroidered their pestemal is and what they’re chatting about.

And when you’re ready, it’s time to get dressed and return to the real world refreshed and glowing with cleanliness.  Sounds lovely!

Finally, I’d like to leave you with the inspiration for this post today – my usual check of BBC news gave me the unexpected but most welcome pleasure of seeing a traditional hammam still in operation*.  Even more impressive – this particular bath has been in operation since it was first opened in 1741.  The light streaming through tiny windows in the domed roof is typical of hammam architecture and is simply beautiful.

Fingers crossed, I’ll one day get to visit a hammam for myself, but if you’ve been, I’d love to hear about your experience!

* Warning – this video contains graphic scenes of a semi-naked middle-aged reporter guy.

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I Heart Books

As a reward for doing the boring but necessary task of visiting employment agencies all day, I allowed myself to spend the last of my gift card.  I tried to order the Kyoto Fashion book, but they couldn’t order it as it was out of stock (meh!).

But nevermind, ’cause it means I got to buy this piece of prettiness instead:

Fashion in DetailSo, if you excuse me, I’m going to go and do some drooling …

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