Kedi: The Cats Of Constantinople

The Cat is one of the most recognisable creatures on the planet. Almost every single culture in the world has some sort of cat presence within in it. There are few, however, that can boast the numbers of cats found in every alleyway, restaurant bin and window ledge of Istanbul.

During these troubled times, Turkey’s biggest city has not been immune to the difficulties of the world. Terrorist activities such as bombings have become more frequent over recent years and political unrest from politicians trying to tighten their grip on the Turkish population have left Istanbul struggling. But what of the struggle of the cats? Have they been affected by these issues?

Turkish-born CeydaTorum and her German partner Charlie Wuppermann decided to explore this seemingly eternal city from a feline perspective and with good reason. Istanbul has a long history of cross-cultural cat migration. Many were used on ships to keep the numbers of mice down and once docked in the Bosphorus Strait, the gateway to the east (or the west), they would make their way on shore to mingle with the native cat population.

This has resulted in many cats of different colours and countries of origin adding to the melting pot that is Istanbul. In their film Kedi, Torum and Wuppermann follow seven cats almost as if they are The Magnificent Seven. There’s “The Hustler”, “The Gentleman” and “The Psycho”. All of course with their own personality traits.

In fact, even though this is a very cat-orientated documentary, the story is a very human one. Istabulians are asked about their relationships with cats and this opens up many diverse storylines that many city dwellers (which includes more and more of us these days) can relate to.

What seems to be an issue for the cat, seems to be an issue for the people as well. Overcrowded living spaces, excess traffic and lack of green spaces are things that seem to endanger not only our quality of life, but cats’ as well. Though there have been some recent moves by the city’s council to help cat housing problems such as building cat homes, one woman observes toward the end of the film that “by solving the cats’ problems, we solve our own.”

Kedi is not a politically motivated project, but perhaps with the seemingly innocent idea of telling the story of seven cats, Torum allows people to explain their perspectives on the world through a smaller if not sharper pair of eyes, with an openness that would not have been achieved through aggressive and direct questioning on a human level. This is a film about life in a far broader sense, beyond any regime, creed or culture. It’s beyond people and instead boils things down to the simmerings of Istanbul’s current situation as a whole and the quiet stories that can easily go unnoticed but still deserve attention in ever more uncertain times.

With some incredible fly on the wall, or fly on the fur as it were, style footage, there are few, if any films out there, that present the world from all fours better than Kedi. The life of the other can be easily forgotten, but here we can be humbled by the lives of the Istanbulian cat and perhaps realise that as with many things, we are all fighting, if not the same battles, then very similar ones.

Travelling to Instanbul? Don’t forget to book your Istanbul airport transfers with Holiday Taxis.

Tops for Every Occasion

I like flexibility. Being flexible in your approach to life allows you to experience more, and take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. It enables you to get more out of life.

Oddly, it is an approach that even extends to my wardrobe. Like most people, I primarily buy on looks, but I am always thinking about versatility. Where possible I like to buy fashion that can be adapted and worn in many different ways. That is probably why I have so many going out tops in my wardrobe. I love them, because you can mix and match them with skirts, trousers, suits or jeans.

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This year there are plenty of excellent party tops available. Here is my roundup of some of the best.

Shoulder details

Some of my favourite examples are off the shoulder tops. You can easily wear them during the day with jeans, but they are dressy enough to be paired with a skirt, and a pair of heels, for the evening.

If off the shoulder tops are not for you opt for a cut out shoulder top instead. There are some lovely lace ones available. In black, they are quite classy, but not so glamorous that you could not get away with wearing one to a barbecue.

These are just two great examples of going out tops that are versatile enough to be worn in a number of different ways.

Body tops

I also like body tops. They are perfect for wearing on holiday or for a trip to the shop on a warm day. The fact that they are sleeveless makes them perfect if you want to get a tan. In the winter, you can easily repurpose them and wear them under a blouse or shirt to help you to stay warmer.

Long tops

There are also some nice long tops available. If you buy one that is long enough, these can easily double up as a short dress that can be worn, on the beach, over your swimming costume. Their versatility makes them ideal for taking on a holiday or weekend trip. Sleeveless tunics are also ideal for this. Tunic tops with sleeves also work well as mini dresses provided they are not too short.

Kimonos

One of the most versatile tops out there is the Kimono. Provided you buy one that is made from a reasonably heavy material, it can double as a light jacket for a chilly evening. Yet worn with a belt it can just as easily be used as a party blouse. If you do not like the cut of Kimonos, a lightweight shrug is probably a better option. They look just as nice, but are not quite as versatile because they cannot double up as a blouse.

As you can see, tops are great for those who like to get plenty of use out of their clothes. They are a versatile clothing option and are not expensive. Therefore, they are the perfect way to treat yourself to something new.

Why am I so relaxed in Koh Samui?

I’ve recently enjoyed a quick break at Koh Samui. I have been to Thailand before hooping between islands, but this time I only had a week to spare so I had to make sure that the island has a good connection with London and I can fly Friday evening after work. The flight and lay over at the Singapore airport went smoothly and next thing I know I wake up in a jungle…

Koh Samui, Peace Resort

The pool and the beach…paradise.

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The island offers plenty of entertainment …and a Full Moon Party if that’s your scene across the see at neighboring Koh Phangan.

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And of course the food…

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Will definitely be back Koh Samui!

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Create a Beautiful Den in Your Roof Space

If you want a chill out area in your home, using your loft could make your dream come true. Most people only store junk up there, which is a real shame because there is so much more that you can do with that space.

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Below is a summary of the basic changes that you will have to make to turn your loft into a beautiful room. Once you have done these things, it is up to you what you do with that new space. You could turn it into a chill out space, a training room, an office, a media room, a playroom or somewhere to store all of your clothes. What you do is entirely up to you.

Additional insulation

In most homes, the roof space is quite draughty and cold, so you need to insulate it well to ensure that it is comfortable enough to use. Insulating the space immediately below the tiles, between the rafters, is essential.

If you do not do this properly, for most of the year, your loft will be too warm or too cold to use. Because the insulation you install between your rafters is held in place using plasterboard or similar materials you will have created the ceiling you need.

Create a floor

You can also install insulation in the space between your joists then board over that to create a floor. If you do this, the insulation will provide some sound insulation, and stop heat from the rest of your home transferring into the loft space.

When choosing the flooring you need to bear in mind your plans for your new room. If you want to turn it into a music or entertainment room you will have to make sure that there is enough soundproofing built in.

You may also need to reinforce the joists. For example, if you plan to use it as a gym some of that equipment will be heavy. In that case, your joists may need strengthening to keep everyone safe.

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Let some natural light in

It is important to light your loft space well. Doing so is the only way to turn it into a comfortable and usable room.

Introduce some natural light by having windows installed. Most roofing contractors in Cheadle and the rest of the UK will install dormer windows for you.

Bear in mind that building regulations require that every loft extension include a window. The window has to be set close to the floor, so that people can use it as an escape route, in case of a fire. It also has to be positioned somewhere that is accessible for the emergency services.

Making your loft space accessible

You also need to make sure that it is easy to get into and out of your roof space. These days that means installing a proper set of stairs. Building regulations require you to do this. However, in some circumstances you are allowed to install paddle stairs. These are usually cheaper and take up less space.

Converting your loft is fun. You can do the majority of the work yourself. Although planning the layout and installing the windows and stairs is best left to the professionals.

A Guide to Musical Vienna

If Paris is he city of love, Vienna is definitely the city of music. Over the centuries, the city has produced some of the best music and has been home to some of the best performers in the world. This is a tradition that continues today. Regardless of your musical tastes, Vienna has something to offer.  Read on and find out more about what Vienna offers music lovers.

Vienna

Opera for all tastes

Songs sang against elaborate backdrops of clouds and trees were popular at Roman celebrations and weddings as far back as the 1500s. This is the earliest record of performances, which historians identify as opera. That is the reason the Italians are often credited with being the creators of the opera genre.

In reality, the history of opera is more complex than that. One of the main reasons opera became so popular was that it was effectively a play that was sung. People became caught up in the story as well as the performance, the music and the songs. The performances the Romans enjoyed were not like this. They were just a series of songs sung against dramatic theatrical backdrops.

In reality, the Viennese really created modern opera. In 1762, the first opera that told a story was performed in Vienna.

Today, Vienna has three fantastic opera venues. All three venues have perfect acoustics and offer great views of all of the action. Whether you are an opera lover or not you really should experience opera in Vienna at least once in your life. There really is nothing quite like it.

 Vienna’s live music scene

Even if opera is not your thing Vienna still has plenty to offer. It does not matter what type of music you like Vienna has something for you. Barely a night goes by without a concert or live performance of some kind. Those who love classical music are spoilt for choice, with the Vienna Philharmonic performing most nights.  There are also choral performances in many of the city’s churches, which both visitors and residents can enjoy.

Vienna festivals

 Vienna’s unique ball season

Every year, Vienna is transformed during ball season. Being there during the ball season is a unique experience. The thousands of ball attendees dressed in beautiful dresses and eveningwear look stunning and take you back in time.

You will be able to enjoy the unique ambience even if you do not end up going to a ball yourself. The best way to do this is to sit down with a drink near the venue and enjoy the view. There are also many public performances of waltz music and plenty of street performers throng the streets at this time of the year.

 Fantastic festivals and parties

Each year, Vienna hosts an eclectic mix of festivals and parties. The Film Festival (Viennale) is always popular and attracts thousands of extra visitors to the city every year. Nearly 3 million people attend the open air Donauinselfest every year. Music artists from across the world play this popular island venue every year.

Aside, from music Vienna offers fantastic architecture, beautiful parks, wonderful museums and art galleries. The food and drink is wonderful and the city has a fantastic coffee culture.

Meet CALIZIA t-shirts where cotton is the Queen

I like things that have a story to tell and things which quality is exceptional. For a really long time I haven’t had a chance to marvel at some product. But since yesterday I am a huge fan of a new Polish cotton clothing brand CALIZIA, which is a designer and producer of tees, blouses and tunics with an absolutely outstanding quality!

Calizia t-shirts

What is the secret of those seemingly ordinary everyday garment items? The world’s finest cotton – Supima®. Why is it the best? Because only less than 1% of the cotton fibers produced worldwide may be called Supima® and only few percent of cotton is named ELS (Extra Long Staple), whereas Supima® fibers are longer than the threshold 1 and 3/8 inches – most of them are 1.5 inches long. For comparison, Egyptian cotton, also known for its excellent quality, meets this criterion in 15-25%. Supima® is grown only in California and the southwest of the United States where the climate is dry, hot and humid. All of those make this material stand out among many others, with its lightness and softness combined with extreme resilience and durability.

cotton t-shirts

CALIZIA is a certified Supima® retailer which guarantees that all of their products are made of exactly this unique cotton. CALIZIA quote “Better cotton – better t-shirt. Quality matters.” Is very much true. I tested it by myself – it really does make a difference.

CALIZIA is known for its simple and classic forms. In its collection we find t-shirts, tank tops, blouses and tunics. Little, but how it’s done! Thanks to plain white color and high-end trim I use my t-shirt with a favorite pair of jeans as well as a pencil skirt when I go to work. What is very important, I didn’t pay enormous prices for this high quality, and the experience of use was completely new. I recommend CALIZIA products with a clear conscience.

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Sky Garden in London – late lunch with a sunset!

Recently opened London’s Sky Garden, the highest public garden offers unforgettable views of the city. You can either book a free visit to the garden or book a place at the bar, brassiere or restaurant. I’ve chosen Darwin Brassiere for a late lunch at 3pm. This time was perfect for catching a sunset at around 4:30 pm (winter time sunset!). The food was not as expensive as I thought it would be compared to the other skyscrapers I’ve visited in London. I will definitely go back as it is a great place in the City to have a meal or a drink and probably the best 360 view of London.

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Sky Garden London view

Sky Garden View on Thames river

Sky Garden City view

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Sky Garden view

Sky Garden restaurant

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Trending jobs and what to study?

Everyone is asking themselves the same questions before going to the university. Which course to choose? We like x,y,z but will this allow us to pay bills and fulfill our dreams of having a sports car or going on long and exotic holiday each year? It is best to find out the job opportunities as well as potential salary before making the choice that could impact our entire career. Here are a few ideas that might help making up your mind.

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IT SECTOR

Software Developer

These professionals are the brains behind your Candy Crush obsession and Android phone dependency. They might be applications developers, who design computer software, databases and games, or they could be systems-focused developers, who are responsible for building operating systems. Growth for both types of IT professionals should balloon in the years to come.

Web Developer

Web developers are responsible for the sleek fonts and clean layout you love on your favourite websites. It is considered to be one of the fastest-growing jobs this decade and is predicted employment should swell at a rate of about 20 percent by 2022.

Computer Systems Analyst

To excel in this job, you need to be both goal-focused and process-oriented. Computer systems analysts must understand computer hardware, software and networks and how they work together, so they can make recommendations to organizations for the best operations systems to use. 24.5 percent employment growth is predicted for this job by 2022.

MARKETING

Marketing Manager

Sending the right message about a product can take the item from a shelf-warmer to a must-have sensation rapidly. That’s what effective marketing managers do – highlight what’s fresh and relevant about a commodity to entice consumers

Events Manager

We are constantly attending parties, weddings, company events. This trend won’t change and people will always need to organise events on smaller or large scale. If you’d like to try a degree in events management you need to be organised and be able to communicate with people on all levels and most importantly you need to like late nights!

FINANCE

Accountant

Were you the kid who always made straight A’s in math? A career full of audits, taxes and accounts receivable might await you. More than 166,000 new openings will be created in this field from now to 2022.

Financial Advisor

Who doesn’t need help digging through the red tape and legalese of investments, taxes and insurance? Very few, which is why 27 percent employment growth is anticipated for personal financial advisors over the next few years. This occupation ranks high thanks to low unemployment numbers and an above-average work-life balance.

Great family days out in Orlando

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The reason so many people coming to Orlando for holiday is to experience the big theme parks, especially Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios. In and around theme parks, International Dive and in Kissimmee, there are over 80,000 hotel rooms, more than in the whole of New York. At night, visitors can experience the razzmatazz at the fantastic entertainment complex of Universal’s City Walk. To see Orlando’s other side, spend some time in the upscale suburb of Winter Park. Just 50 miles away, the Space Coast is an easy day trip from Orlando. Here, beaches range from empty, wild sands to the buzzing surfing mecca of brash Cocoa Beach.

Getting around

If you are planning to explore Orlando beyond the theme parks, the best option is to rent a car. With and extensive network of divided highways, driving is relaxing and fast. From Walt Disney World, downtown Orlando is half an hour’s drive north and Cypress Gardens Adventure Park an hour south. Many hotels offer free shuttle bus services to the theme parks, and Lynx buses serve most tourist destinations in Greater Orlando. The Space Coast is an hour east from Orlando on Route 528. I-95 is the main north-south route along the coast; Route A1A connects the beaches on the barrier islands.

Things to do

Families around the world book 2014 Orlando tickets via internet every day. They see adventure, great food and most of all a fantastic family days out! Here are some of the main theme parks and sights a family trip to Orlando should entail.

Orlando trip map

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Eco-friendly home ideas for the ‘green’ minded

Many of us would like to make our homes more eco-friendly without making them appear spartan or plain. With buzzwords like green living, upcycling and sustainable furnishings now serious trends in interior design circles, an eco-friendly home has never been more desirable. With green awareness in mind, here are some tips on how to remodel the various living spaces in the home to make them more eco-friendly while at the same time keeping them comfortable, stylish, and appealing.

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A green home is a healthy home

An eco-friendly or green home is not only one that reduces the homeowner’s carbon footprint, it is also about making a healthier home, with improved air quality, less harmful chemicals and a better use of natural light. The products that we purchase for our homes, from paints and rugs to upholstery and furniture, can often contain harmful chemicals and pollutants, so it’s important we pay more attention to what we buy – not only for the planet but also for ourselves.

Choose eco-friendly, water-based paints rather than oil-based ones: These emit far less pollutants and are just as effective. This is also true of other wall coverings – consider using ceramic tiling or wood or cork paneling over traditional wallpaper, for a natural, warm texture.

Plants add life, color and vitality to your home, but they do much more than that: They help filter air, removing harmful chemicals from a room and providing much-needed oxygen. So choose some hardy houseplants that suit your own personal decor, whether that means colorful flowering ones or tall, elegant palms or cacti.

Save on heating and electricity bills

Maximize natural light by removing heavy drapes and installing skylights or patio doors, or consider an open plan to your house that lets light flow from one room to the other. This will raise everyone’s mood, as sunlight is known to boost happiness, but it will also help you save on electricity bills, too, as you won’t need to switch on electrical lamps as often. Remember that light colors reflect light while dark ones absorb it; so make your interiors light, fresh, and airy.

When night falls, however, the electric lights need to come on, so opt for energy-efficient bulbs and LED lighting. Similarly, remember to insulate your home to save heating costs – use green insulation materials such as recycled denim, newspapers and lambswool and replace drafty old windows with energy-efficient glazing. When it comes to window treatments, solid shutters also help retain heat, and are produced in natural materials such as FSC-certified wood.

Use organic, natural materials

Use organic, natural materials such as cork and bamboo, and linen and unbleached cotton for upholstery and drapes. Bamboo is ideal for home design because it grows quickly and what is cut down can thus quickly be reforested. It is also extremely strong and versatile, and can be used for everything from chairs and flooring to plates and bowls.

Wood is one of the greenest materials one can use, and it has wonderful, natural warmth to it that is hard to replicate with synthetic materials. Always ensure you buy FSC-certified wood, however; this has been independently checked as having been grown in sustainable forests under responsible conditions with respect for both workers and the environment.

Reuse, replace, and recycle

A green home is one that generates less waste, so work with what you already have. To ‘upcycle’ something means to remodel and reuse something in a way that improves its value, for example sprucing up your old dining chairs with new upholstery rather than buying new ones. When buying new furniture and appliances, look for stores that sell used items – even windows and doors can be reused and reclaimed.

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