Blink Travels: Jewellery joy in Istanbul

As we returned to our lovely hotel after a hard day of retail therapy topped off with a soapy rub down in the Galatasaray hamam (not for the prudish or faint-hearted!), we spotted a small but beautiful store, called Ekay, with lots of stunning, sparking jewelery in the window. It was impossible to resist popping in, as I have a personal addiction for Turkish jewelery, and its always nice to wear something that serves as a reminder of a great trip too…

We were very well looked after by Evren, who turned out to be the designer, maker and proprietor. She explained the inspiration for her latest collection called ‘Constellation’, “The inspiration comes from when people look at the stars everybody sees different shapes. Everyone can create their own star as a ring. The constellation collection is like a puzzle. There are a lot of different versions of the rings so people can combine them with each other to create something unique.”

Evren Kayar in her store, Ekay

one of the 'Constellation' rings

I invested in a really unusual silver ring from the ‘Ottoman Remix’ collection, inspired by traditional architectural shapes seen in Istanbul. Beautiful!

my ring from the 'Ottoman Remix' collection

Blink Travels- On the tiles in Istanbul

We spent a full day exploring in the most historic part of Istanbul, mainly with our mouths wide open in wonderment at the absolute beauty and amazing ancient architectural feats of engineering.

I was really inspired by all of the pattern and decoration, mainly created with incredibly intricate tiles and fretwork throughout the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace in particular. Here are some shots to share with you the joy of the softly geometric patterns we saw, plus a shot taken in the Roman cistern, Yerebatan Sarnici.

When asked if I wanted to stop off at the ‘cistern’ on our trail, my immediate response was ‘Do I look like a girl interested in cisterns?’- well, it doesn’t sound very glamorous does it? I was more focused on how to slip the Topkapi diamond into my handbag. Well, on this occasion I nearly missed out on one of the most amazing sights in Istanbul. The cistern is architecturally and historically stunning- not to be missed!

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

The Roman Cistern, Istanbul

Blink Travels- Istanbul Street Art

As you probably have spotted from previous ‘Graphics’ posts, or seen in our quarterly ‘Graphics’ report, at “Blink” we are huge fans of street art. It was an extra special treat to see so much amazing street art in Istanbul. It seemed to be quite focused in Beyoglu, where we were staying, leaving the more ancient and historical sections of the city pretty unscathed- as it should be.

At each turn, I spotted really interesting variations on stencil designs- small and punchy. There were larger more artistically created pieces too. My favourites, however were the multiple variations on the yellow fist design. Does anyone know who these are by? I felt like maybe these were from Istanbul’s version on Eine perhaps- a specific look and handwriting around a very focused theme.

Istanbul is home to the incredible street art focused Milk Gallery which, if you’re a fan of this art-form, is one for the ‘must visit’ list.

For more on ‘Graphics’ click here.

Blink Travels: Istanbul, in the House

So, part way through London Fashion Week, I did a runner…

I had been invited to spend a few days in Istanbul, and it was an offer too good to be refused. I left LFW in the capable hands of the lovely Asta and headed off to Turkey. Istanbul is a city that I have breezed through on several work trips, but never had the opportunity to fully explore. Besides the fact that it straddles two continents; the history, architecture and culture has always fascinated me. Team that with the fact that I had just completed a research project on this very city and you had the recipe for a very excited person indeed.

We stayed at the incredibly lovely House Hotel Galatasaray, a stunning 1890’s townhouse that had recently been converted into a luxe hotel by the Autoban team. I’m a huge fan of their aesthetic so couldn’t wait to see what they had created. The hotel was a beautiful marriage of original features (lots of sumptuous moulding and traditional tiles) with a very polished, modern edge. They have managed to create something that is comfortable and functional, yet incredibly elegant. I wanted to move in permanently!

The Galatasaray area, within Beyoglu, is a great place to be based too, with streets full of amazing vintage and antique stores, cool cafes and outstanding restaurants- not to forget the incredible desserts at SakaryaTatlicisi that would send a diabetic into shock from twenty paces. Its also a short walk downhill to the fabulous Istanbul Modern (amazing Hussein Chalayan and Dice Kayek exhibitions) and the unbelievebly OTT Dolmabahce Palace.

The stunning freestanding shower in the bedroom at the House Hotel

The beautiful bathroom, tiled in marble street address plaques.

Love the slightly retro feel chandelier against the stunning ceiling mouldings.

Beautiful traditional floor tiles through the hotel

The view across Istanbul from the top floor lounge