Tag Archives: Turkey

Thanksgiving in London

Thanksgiving Day is one of America’s most celebrated holidays, and one I look forward to every November. We Americans have an uncanny homing instinct this time of year, when people travel an average distance of over 200 miles over the hills and through the woods to be with family and loved ones. For an ex-pat like me, it can be a day tinged with homesickness. Luckily, the American community in London has a tradition of gathering at St Paul’s Cathedral for the Thanksgiving Day Service.

St Pauls Old Red Double decker bus London

St Pauls Cathedral Statue facade London

An American Bald Eagle above the altar in the American Memorial Chapel

An American Bald Eagle above the altar in the American Memorial Chapel

St Pauls Cathedral Steps Front

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St Pauls Cathedral Thanksgiving Service Inside

St Pauls Cathedral Thanksgiving Program

The US Ambassador to the UK, Matthew Barzun, addressed the congregation and read out the President’s Proclamation. He spoke of the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Then we all sang America, the Beautiful accompanied by the Combined Choirs of the American Congregations in London and I was flooded with a big dose of the warm-fuzzies.

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Thanksgiving Service St Pauls Choir

St Pauls Cathedral Front Steps London

St Pauls Cathedral Front Steps

After church, it was home to roast the turkey and make those last-minute adjustments to the Thanksgiving table before the guests arrived.

Thanksgiving Table COffee Table Champagne Bucket Glasses Nibbles

Thanksgiving Table Floral Centerpieces Ajusting

For my Thanksgiving table centerpieces this year, I used bouquets of blue thistles, hypericum berries and sprigs of green bell. I love the architectural beauty and the periwinkle grey color of the thistle blooms.

Thanksgiving Table Flowers Centerpieces

Thanksgiving Table Flower Centerpiece

Thanksgiving Table Place

I had some extra sprigs of berries, so I tucked them into the napkins to make the place settings a bit more festive.

Thanksgiving Table Place Setting

Love these adorable baby squash I picked up at Daylesford to accent the table.

Love these adorable baby squash I picked up at Daylesford to accent the table.

Thanksgiving Table Prepping

Thanksgiving Table View

Thanksgiving Table Place Cards

With the candles lit and everyone excitedly gathered round the table, it was time to feast!

Thanksgiving Table Sitting Down

Thanksgiving Table sitting down end

Tuscan kale salad with quinoa, red onion, pomegranate seeds and pistachios

Tuscan kale salad with quinoa, red onion, pomegranate seeds and pistachios

Sweet potato and sage gratin with parmesan breadcrumbs

Sweet potato and sage gratin with parmesan breadcrumbs

Thanksgiving Menu Stuffing

Thanksgiving Menu Turkey Carving

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Thanksgiving Table Smiles

Thanksgiving Table Wine

Thanksgiving Table People Smiles

There have been so many wonderful things happen this year. As dictated by tradition, we went round the table with each person sharing just a few words about what they’re thankful for this Thanksgiving. There were some teary eyes, a few excited whoops, and lots and lots of laughs.

Thanksgiving Table Laughts

Thanksgiving Table People Talk

Thanksgiving Table Cheek Kiss

Before we knew it our plates had been cleared, and it was time for dessert. Two American behemoths – a beautiful latticed apple pie made by Maria, and a traditional spiced pumpkin pie I whipped up (with a slightly burnt crust – oops!)

Thanksgiving Table Menu Apple Pie

Thanksgiving Menu Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving Menu Pumpkin Pie Cutting

Thanksgiving People Cheeky Look

By the end of the meal, we were all feeling the love – and the silliness!

Thanksgiving People Peace

Thanksgiving People Girls Wining

Thanksgiving People Girls Talking

Thanksgiving People GIrls Laugh

Thanksgiving People Girls

thanksgiving Forehead kiss

As the Christmas season kicks off, and we will soon be consumed with the worry of what to give (and what we will get), Thanksgiving is an opportune moment to simply appreciate what we already have.

Thanksgiving Night Friends

I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends to stand in for family when I can’t be home for the holidays. A wonderful evening, keeping our home traditions alive!

Taking a Hike: Ancient Byzantine Ruins

After a few days on the boat bobbing along the southern coast of Turkey, we came ashore to stretch our sea legs on dry land. We hiked a gravely path up into the hills, encountering some local wildlife along the way.hike hike1

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We emerged from the forest into an open field with ancient ruins in the distance.  hike6

It comes in handy having a fiancé who studied Medieval History. We were able to identify the ruins as being from the Byzantine Empire and estimate they date between 12th and 14th centuries. The Byzantine Empire arose when the Roman Empire split and took the eastern half.  The folks who built these structures would have been Greek Orthodox and ruled from Constantinople (now Istanbul) which eventually fell, after a long decline, to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

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The scholars among us tried to translate some of these huge tablets – but it’s all Greek to me! hike12 hike13 hike14 hike15

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We scurried back down the hill, where our dinghy was waiting to shuttle us back to the boat.

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That evening we cruised into the port of Fethiye as the sun set.

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There might have been an impromptu dance-off on the roof…

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Despite my best moves like Jagger, I think I lost that one.

We pulled into the Fethiye marina at dusk, as canapés were being served on deck.

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After a nibble, we set off into Fethiye for a bit of shopping in the buzzing shops of the bazaar.

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A humdinger of a day – on land and at sea!

Sunset Yoga on a Turkish Gulet

While in Turkey, I had the pleasure of meeting the nicest gal (and fellow American expat) whose daily yoga classes onboard the boat were one of the most rejuvenating parts of the experience!

Colby is a Manuka Life instructor in London, certified in yoga, private instruction and retreats. Her buoyant energy really served to invigorate the practice – and the soothing sway of the boat just added to the sessions.

Manuka happens to have a line of colorful, lightweight yoga wear that is some of the most comfy and flattering that I’ve ever tried. This Active Seamless Tee had me humming “Ommmm” as soon as I slipped it on! I am definitely going to check out their shop on New Kings Road for more of this collection.

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As the sun made its westerly decent into the hills, we unfurled our mats for a soothing sunset practice.

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One of my favorite benefits of yoga is that it promotes awareness of the body and breath. Breathing is a lot like a wave, rolling in as you inhale and flowing out as you exhale. To be on a yacht, rocking gently on the water, really emphasized that sensation.

Practicing yoga outdoors, I could smell and taste the sea with every breath. And rather than reaching for the ceiling or extending out toward a wall, I found myself gazing up at the emerging stars in the dusky sky and stretching for the brilliant glow of the sunset on the horizon.

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I savored and clutched every minute of this session – truly the most peaceful and relaxing yoga class I’ve ever had.

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Namaste! xx

Somewhere Off the Turkish Coast

“On a day
when the wind is perfect,
the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.
Today is such a day.”                 ― Rumi
                                                  

Every so often, I receive an invitation that is so incredible, so exciting, so too-good-to-be-true, that I would drop everything – move heaven and earth – to accept it! So when a dear friend asked if I wanted to spend a week on a boat in Turkey, I could hardly get the words out fast enough, squealing “Absolutely”! I actually might have done a little dance of ecstatic delight. What better way to spend a week with friends than aboard a beautiful luxury schooner sailing off the majestic Lycian Coast?

With my passport stamped at Dalaman airport, I met everyone at arrivals, and we headed to the marina to start our adventure. It was dark when we turned up, so we clambered aboard with our luggage and bunked down for the night.

The next morning, we awoke in our bright and spacious en suite cabin onboard the opulent Ecce Navigo. The sleek interior is clad in gleaming mahogany panelling. Above deck, there are lots of little terry-covered nooks to explore and oodles of space to sprawl out in the sun.

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We padded up the stairs towards the wafting aroma of freshly brewed coffee, and discovered we were no longer in the marina, but moored in a shimmering, placid cove – just as breakfast was being served. Having a five-star chef onboard was the ultimate indulgence – heaping plates of fresh fruit, giant bowls of thick yogurt with nuts, tomato and herb salad, Mediterranean olives and squidgy slices of local cheese. I was in food heaven!

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There was a yoga instructor onboard, so we continued our healthy start to the day with a gentle session of stretches and poses – and an obligitory series of sun salutations. What an invigorating way to greet the sunshine while awakening the body and breath – as light glinted off the rippling water all around us!

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yoga yoga1 yoga2After our class, it was time for a dip in the dazzling sapphire waters of the Mediterranean.

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Okay, maybe one more dip (this time, without the form and finesse)…swim jump

If anyone asked how the water was, we called it refreshing. Some days it was so refreshing, we needed to sun ourselves on the bow for a while to warm back up.

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… although this little sailor always seemed content lounging in the shade.

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After a day of soaking in the sun and scenery, we got all gussied up in our evening finery. After pre-dinner cocktails at the bar, we made our way to the table for a long, lingering Turkish feast – accompanied by plenty of toasts and giggles.

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What a memorable night bobbing on the waves of the Mediterranean with this gorgeous crew!

As it turns out, life at sea is the life for me!