Zeynep is our Woman of the Festive week!

Zeynep is our friend and a guest blogger – she regularly writes about her very varied and colourful life, her relationships, how she sees the world and all of her posts are honest and thought-provoking. She was the perfect pick for our last Woman of the Week for 2018.

Zeynep / woman of the week / CountryWivesTell us a little about yourself: I have been divorced for more than a decade now and share my life with an old flame. My two sons Gustav and Harry are 26 and 24. They both live in London. When I was a child I wanted to become a paediatrician, did in fact start medical school in Toulouse but my love life didn’t work out so I abandoned everything, as you do, and escaped! Later on, I totally changed path and studied Business Communications. Marriage and children took over but finally at the age of 39 I did a PGCE and became a Primary School Teacher and thoroughly enjoyed teaching for 17 years. The buzz of being in a class of 30 children, being able to teach them and/or (hopefully) motivate them to enjoy learning is amazing. Every day is different and exciting. I still teach if and when they call me for a day supply on my days off from Cannelle Beauty Salon where I work as a manager.

How have you changed since you turned 50?  My 50s were a turmoil especially the first few years. None of us marry to divorce and I never thought I would, so the break-up of my marriage, its impact on my children, on my work and friendships was really hard. I have not always taken the best decisions for myself and suffered the consequences during that decade. I still do but I feel more settled since turning 60 last year. I have a great relationship with my sons, know who my friends are, enjoy the work I do and am learning to love and accept myself. I am also learning to trust my feelings. You know when you are going to do something or think of something and your stomach turns upside down, well that means a no no, don’t go there! I cannot give an age that I feel in my head right now but it definitely is not 60 or whatever that number means. I have started so many new things this year like finally driving on the motorway, writing, learning to do upholstery. Writing a book is next.

Tell us about the places you have lived and maybe tell us where you would like to live. After spending the first 16 years of my life in Ankara, Turkey I have lived in Nouakchott, (West Africa) Toulouse, Jeddah, Miami for a short while, Washington D.C, London and for the past 30 years I have been living in Henley. I have visited many lovely countries too but fell in love with Ibiza. The islanders are clever people, they bus all the party-goers to some parts of the island and the rest is pretty unspoilt. The north is breath-taking. I would love to live there, in the campo surrounded by fig trees and wonderful smells. I could easily live in the south of France as well.

What are your hobbies, what do you like to do in your free time? Upholstery is becoming a new hobby. I love writing, reading, gardening. I canZeynep / woman of the week / CountryWives potter around doing very little and spend hours on the phone with my close friends who are scattered all around the world.

Do you have any fashion secrets? Although I love using the computer, ipad, iphone etc I still enjoy buying my clothes physically from the shops. Nicole Farhi is an old favourite. My Hermes carres are my favourite especially in winter where I feel the cold around my neck. A new carre ‘’Etude Pour Une Parure de Gala’, in blue might soon appear in my wardrobe! I love my Chanel bag too and will definitely own a pair of Chanel sling backs at some point. Jewellery is another soft spot.

Have you embraced technology? I am quite good at using the computer and social media but reluctant and lazy to learn other gadgets. Waze is a good app for finding my way around.

What are your beauty secrets? I have always used Lancome mascaras, love Bobbi Brown eye shadows and Decleor creams. These products never date and suit my skin. One thing I never leave home without is perfume however, my first one, L’air du Temps by Nina Ricci was given to me by my grandmother. At the moment I am using Florabotanica by Balenciaga. Time to change I think but nothing has accelerated my heartbeat yet. I have always taken my make up off before going to bed and never sleep before applying a hand cream and lip balm.

What do you like to cook? Apparently my salad dressing is one in a million. I can cook anything and nowadays rely on the internet for recipes. I also have some of my mother’s little notebooks where she wrote her favourite recipes.

What is your favourite food and/or drink? I love Danish Porse (bog-myrtle) snaps, and give me a glass or two of a Gevrey-Chambertin any time. I enjoy most food as long as it is tasty.

Tell us about your favourite book. Perfume by Patrick Suskind has left a lasting effect on me. A very powerful read, I could imagine every scene and smell. Ask and It’s Given by Ester and Jerry Hicks was the first book I have read about the Law of Attraction. It was an eye opener. I have read all of Ayse Kulin’s books. As she is family, I always get signed copies but it is not the reason why I enjoy her books. She is a remarkable writer.

What TV do you love to watch? I have become addicted to Walter Presents box sets and enjoy watching documentaries especially about animals, Master Chef, Apprentice despite that it often makes me cringe, Food Unwrapped; Kate Quilton is an amusing presenter.

What music do you like to listen to? Brazilian and Café del Mar type of chill out music and Elton John are my favourites.

What can’t you live without? My tweezers!

Who do you most admire/aspire to or who are you most grateful to? I am grateful to the late Charles and Nancy Foltz who took me under their wing in Washington D.C. and gave me love, care and a sense of responsibility.

What is your top tip for #womenover50? Do not try to look 25-30 even 40. Assume your age and age with elegance.

Why not read some of the posts written by Zeynep now that you know so much more about her: just click here