Every year I receive presents that wake up my senses.  This year was no exception. I am a very fortunate person to have amassed these sensual treasures to pull out every time 2020 brings me down or I need a little reminder that I am loved and appreciated.

Perhaps the best sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches were felt on Christmas day this year. I know I shouldn’t reminisce but hard not to when both the lunch and dinner were a spectacular gift to arouse all the senses. The sounds were those of children and adults running around with water pistols as the pure joy of childhood permeated our special day.

Shortly after lunch, the presents were distributed. This to me, was the revealing of what the new year would hold for me and my family. I was assured that all of my senses would be indulged. Not that I had any fear,  living in a particularly beautiful part of the world, despite the bushfires that won’t ease. So many trees, wildlife, houses and human lives have already been lost to the ravenous fires that continue to consume the country with ferocity, but for now let’s focus on the beauty we still hold onto in our lives and backyards. A beauty that stood out with my tastebuds was the Prosecco and Elderflower liquor refresher mixed and served by Christabelle. She topped up the glasses with crisp sparkling water and popped a twig of rosemary, and voila! instant cool. I’ll try to have these puppies as the summer heat rages on.  The Christmas ham was another thing to behold. Such a wonderful juicy glaze complimented the quality of the meat which was the most wondrous thing I’d ever noted and I admit my tastebuds are spoiled as everything is in varying degrees of delicious in Australia. I’m not a marketer anymore, but I will divulge that it came from the new butcher in Lane Cove.

And as for what the presents unfolded as I gaze into the future, this year I will be witnessing the joys of overlooking the Sydney Harbour and having high tea with a lucky person, most likely a close girlfriend. I’m thinking it may be my sister-in-law who is to become a mother for the first time right around mothers’ day. I can already see us having tea, and walking the grounds of the Gunner’s Barracks, which reminds me so much of Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace. This is all thanks to a high tea for voucher gifted to us by Auntie Maz.

Something that has a fifty percent chance of happening is a Turkish breakfast Akin promised he’d organise at Efendy, a restaurant that does Turkish breakfasts right with unlimited tea and a spread of many types of Turkish cheeses, buttermilk, honey, jams, olives of all colours and breads.

And for sure we will all go glamping, that is camping in style for a weekend, March 27-29th to be precise, as Martin organised that trip as our gift to everyone around the Christmas table.

Among the treasures, there’s a coffee carry cup, a holy grail of sorts for a mum who has to sometimes drink lattes on the run, and thank you Warren for that. An aromatic candle from LÓccitane, Douceur Immortelle lighing up my desk in these wee hours of the morning and giving off delicious scents as I type these words, thank you Christabelle.

Thanks to Simon and Belinda, Martin and I will enjoy a beautiful lunch nestled in Sydney’s botanic gardens, a lush paradise amidst the highrises and the hustle and bustle of the CBD. The Asian style cuisine will speak highly to my sense of smell and taste and I will listen to Martin like he’s never been listened to before. The feedback I get from him, my fellow Toastmaster, all too often is that I don’t listen. I intend to change that this year and see if he actually does open to me more than he has in the past. I know, we women, say that men never share their feelings but I really wonder if we’re patient enough with them. Maybe men need some time and space to start opening up and sharing their internal worlds with us.

And I can’t wait to experience modern dance/ballet set against the stripped-down rock of the White Stripes when we go out to see Volt at the Sydney Opera House in April. An evening of dance and babysitting provided by Cheryl is just the ticket to experience something out of the ordinary with Martin.

When I’m cooking, and I reach for garlic there will be Cheryl, who brought us the most beautiful braid of garlic from a French man who grows and harvests it with his family. I will reach for a beeswax wrap to cover the containers before I put them back in the fridge and there in the wrappers I’ll feel Cheryl and Belinda, who handmade them.

When I go out for a stroll in the backyard, the scent of gardenia, planted next to the bed of geraniums that mum established, will greet me and I’ll be reminded of Cheryl and when I sit down to write in my beautiful green Turkish carpet diary, I will think of all who make it possible for me have the luxury of sitting down and writing in a moment of peace.

Finally, Zoe if you’re reading this and you love to swim, you can thank Auntie Bel and Uncle Sim for the first five swimming lessons of your life. If you’re not much of a swimmer, well, we tried and I think we’re going to have lots of fun doing the swimming lessons with you.


Bu sene yanimda duran, bana hediye vermis veya sadece beni dinlemis, bi kac guzel kelime paylastigim herkese cok tesekkur ederim. Iyi ki hayatimdasiniz. Arkadaslarim Nergiz ve Menekse, her defasinda olaylari bir cok acidan gorup bu gorduklerini comertce benle paylastiklari icin essizlerdir. Kadikoy’de Zoe’yi de takip gecirdigimiz o gun benim icin cok kiymetliydi. Basak’la da sanat mevzusunu konusmak, ve anlamak, herbirimizin hayati aslinda birer sanat parcasi. Ev kadini olsak da, sahnemiz ofis veya sinif veya hastane olsa ve politikadan sikayet etsek de, aslinda hepimiz her zaman bir performans veriyoruz ve kaderimizi cizip, boyuyoruz.

Her yasadigimiz olayda bir payimiz var. Bu insani cok guclendiren ve ayni zamanda isler kotu gittiginde de sadece “kader, kismet” diye omuz silkmemizi engelleyen, daha derin dusunceye iten bir felsefe. Ondan benimsemeden once cok dusunun, tasinin. Matrix’teki kirmizi hap yani bu. Yersen hapi yuttun yani.

Annem, Alev ve Berna teyzem, anilarini paylastiklari icin Lucy ve Zoe’yi atalari, anneannem ve ailem hakkinda aktarabilecegim daha cok bilgiye sahibim bugun. Kimligini, nerden geldigini bilen cocuklarin hayata bakis acisi daha olumlu, yapici ve ayaklarinin ustunde daha guclu duruyorlarmis diye okumustum bir psikoloji dergisinde. Artik onlarin da guclu temelleri olusmaya basladi. Alev Teyzem’den Susu hikayeleri rica ediyorum onumuzdeki yillarda. Artik teknoloji diye birsey var, heryerden kaydedip bana yollayabilirsin. Cok guzel yaziyorsun ve sanirim anlatimin da guclu, dinlemeye doyum olmaz.

Berna Teyzem, buyuyen ailem, esim ve cocuklarimin isimlerini iceren kolye icin tesekkur ederim. Cekirdek aileme odaklanmami soyluyorsun hep, ama koklerimiz olmasa o cekirdekler de olmazdi. Hepimizin burda olus sebebi cunku birbirimiz variz. Ben sana ”cekirdek ailene odaklan” dediginde kizardim, ama haklisin. Sen buyuk ol, ailede kim var, kim yok, hepsinin yer yer ilgimize ihtiyaci var dedigimde bana kizma.

Over to you…

What were the gifts you received from your loved ones this Christmas and how do you foresee them touching your life in 2020?