Vivez Bien * Live Well

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Istanbul and Other Things

 This is going to be a long one so I'd suggest that you go and pour yourself a morning cup of coffee  or an evening glass of wine. If it's a morning glass of wine, that's fine too, I won't judge!
Istanbul (sigh) ....what can I say. I'd go back tomorrow if I could. It was so beautiful and so full of history and the people were so friendly and helpful, we really had an amazing time. But before I go on about Istanbul, I know the question on everybody's lips is....
did I buy any Hammam towels? 

I sure did!  First I bought these two beauties....

 ...then I found these....

...then I got into the groove and bought 6 more and husband said "enough now" ..... I bought 2 more!

Look at that beautiful texture.  

Now some pics of Istanbul....I don't want to bore you so I'll just show you some of my favourite spots.

 The Hippodrome was the site of chariot races and other sporting events of the time. Today it is a picturesque promenade that features some fragments of the original structure such as this carved Obelisk of Theodosius which was erected here in 390AD. This makes it 1625 years old - quite mind boggling! We sat and had a cup of coffee overlooking this square while trying to fend off an over-enthusiastic carpet vendor!

The beautiful fountain on Sultanahmet Square with the Blue Mosque in the background. There is so much to look at in this part of Istanbul, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar. You can easily spend a whole day here.

I was so amazed at how beautiful the gardens were.... some ways, reminiscent of Paris, which is high praise in my book!

Another of my favourite areas was around the Galata Tower, which is a medieval stone tower in the Karakoy quarter. It was built in 1348 (quite a new building by Istanbul's standards - only 667 years old!) The tower is surrounded by an open square filled with restaurants and bars and is the meeting area for the young "hip and happening" locals. We must have thought that we fitted right in because we hung out here a lot. LOL

 Here is a view of the tower all lit up at night. Our favourite restaurant is on the right.


 This little street looks like it could be in Provence.

Yet another favourite spot is Ortaköy which is a neighbourhood, formerly a small village, located in the middle of the European bank of the Bosphurus. It seems to be  a popular spot for both locals and tourists, with its street markets, food stalls, art galleries, cafés, and lovely views over the Bosphorous.

 One of the landmarks is this area is the Ortaköy Mosque (below) which is a beautifully ornate structure, right on the jetty of Ortaköy, bordering the waters of the Bosphorus.

This is the night-time view from the roof terrace of our hotel. Sipping a glass of delicious red wine,  in the company of my lovely husband, looking at this view, will definitely be etched in my memory for a long time.

 But enough of my travels, I have other important things to tell you.... 

My blog friend, Kristy Woodson Harvey, has written a book! What an awesome accomplishment. To give you a bit of background on Kristy, she is a journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina, and holds a Master's in English from East Carolina University. Having followed her blog  "Design Chic" for many years, it always struck me that she has a real way with words, but I had no idea of her amazing credentials. (I feel so inadequate next to bloggers like this). In addition, she is a regular contributor to The Salisbury Post, Domino Magazine and Houzz, and, on top of it all,  has a 3 year old!

And look how pretty she is!

Her recently launched debut novel, Dear Carolina, is the story of two Southern women of very different backgrounds and is written in the form of a narrative, alternating chapter by chapter between the two main characters. At the centre of the story is a little girl, Carolina. Written with humour and compassion, Kristy brings the characters to life and draws you into the struggles that they face.
Do yourselves a favour and read this heartwarming story. You won't be disappointed!

Available through Amazon or iTunes

Your might want to pour yourself a second glass because I'm not quite done yet....

Onto things local .... if you are ever in the Stilbaai area, do yourselves a favour and pay a visit to The Press Room Cafe at Olyven Houdt Farm. You will feel like you have stumbled into a little corner of France. The restaurant is set in and around a beautiful stone building and is surrounded by olive trees. The food is great and the service very friendly. There are also a variety of olive oils and other olive based products on sale.

If you are in a shopping sort of mood, why not visit "NetDécor". They stock a beautiful array of colouful glass and ceramics. The duck egg (below) particularly appeals to me. If you want to brighten up your home for winter, pay them a visit and do some online shopping. What could be easier?  See the link on the sidebar or click here.

And finally, my last announcement.... Cindy from Rough Luxe and Mary Ann from Classic Casual Home have kindly asked me to join in their Project Design Series along with other bloggers. The topic is how to "Refresh Your Living Room With These Inexpensive Tips".

On Friday 22 May, all the bloggers listed below, will be giving you our ideas on the subject, so be sure to come back for a visit.

Phew! I'm done now.....

Till next time
Sharon x


  1. Sharon, It's been way too long. I don't get much time for blog hopping any more and when i do rarely time to comment. I'm glad I stopped by today. I definitely want to hear all the tips from the group that is coming up. Cheers to you my friend. Mona

  2. Thank you so much for the fabulous review of Dear Carolina, Sharon! And, wow! What an AMAZING trip. I have to confess, those towels are my weak spot too. I have a million of them. I love them best of all for beach towels because they take up no room and make an adorable wrap. What could be better? Thanks again for posting about Dear Carolina!! That's amazing! xo Kristy

  3. Gorgeous travel pics.... And the towels. Swoon!

  4. Istanbul looks amazing! And I LOVE those towels... "So I bought to more" absolutely made me laugh out loud! I just did the same thing at a store in town. Kristy is an amazing writer and I would like to add business women! It has been fun seeing her book reviewed on different blogs! Looking forward to your next post!

  5. Ha! I bought eight pairs of Haviania flip flops (made in Brazil) when we went to Rio de Janeiro recently (great gifts). Are you keeping all the towels? Such a great trip you had!!!

  6. So much fun to see some of your favorite places around Istanbul! Happy you had a great visit -- and brought back a bounty of those heavenly Hammam towels!! xo Leslie

  7. Sharon,
    I love a good armchair travel adventure. What a beautiful city Istanbul is. It looks like you were there at the height of their spring. I'm glad the Hammam towels didn't disappoint.
    It will sure be fun to have your input on the upcoming Project Design. It's always informative and inspirational.
    I loved Kristy's book and have a giveaway for a copy to one lucky participant on my blog. I'm so happy for her success!

  8. Oh my gosh...what a beautiful place...I need to get out and travel! Loved Dear Carolina and I cant wait to see your post Project Design!

  9. Istanbul is on my bucket list!! I am dying to order some of the towels would love to hear which ones you like best!! So glad you are joining us on Friday!!

  10. gorgeous images of Istanbul and thanks for the heads up about Stillbaai Sharon. I hope to visit there as soon as the weather warms up a little.