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Ideas for decorating the Christmas tree of your dreams

It’s little time left until Christmas and everybody’s running around for presents, food, getting the perfect outfits and so on. If you haven’t yet bought the Christmas tree and have no idea how to decorate it then the process can seem like a true aggravation.

Some people love changing the Christmas decorations every year according to the season’s new trends and room design. Others become attached to ornaments as they collect them along the years, adding sentimental value to the little sparkling pieces. With a bit of help and strategy the tree can become the canvas to express the family’s taste and style, it’s all about knowing what you like and how to get it.

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7 Design lessons we can learn from Istanbul – Don’t forget the lighting

Lesson 6 – Don’t forget the lighting!

Rusty romantic, reinterpretations of Magritte hats, modern metal or the colorful mosaic hanging lamps – Istanbul offers them all. And most importantly, offers the places to buy them!

The one thing this city has in abundance aside from hair dressers and coffee shops is lighting object stores. It’s not very clear to me if they are meant for the tourists or the locals keep changing the lamps in their homes so often however here you can find whatever style and shape you want.

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7 Design lessons we can learn from Istanbul – Symmetry & Add a touch of glam

Lesson 4 – Symmetry

Just as we consider symmetrical faces to be beautiful the same judgment we apply to architecture and interior design.

It’s no coincidence that the Taj Mahal has amazed us for centuries with it’s perfectly symmetrical marble towers. So there is also no coincidence The Blue Mosque that isn’t actually blue attracts millions of tourists every year. Its statue rises above the skyline of Istanbul with the symmetrical minarets as the symbol of this vibrant city.

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7 Design lessons we can learn from Istanbul – Use patterns

Lesson 3

I spoke in previous posts about the richness you can find in color and lines in Istanbul spaces. This is traceable back to the what is left from the early Christian era and mostly present in the Ottoman art.

For example, the sultans loved using recurring patterns and were not afraid to show it! Topkapi palace is the best example of using rich and heavy tiles for decorating interiors and outside walls.

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7 Design lessons we can learn from Istanbul: Be romantic

Lesson 2

Say romantic city and people will instantly think of Paris or Rome.

With its crazy traffic, narrow buildings and crowded bazaars Istanbul can hardly come up to mind as a romantic getaway for a weekend. However this city sizzles romance and most importantly offers sights that can rival Tour Eiffel anytime.

So if you want to taste romance start with a Turkish breakfast at George’s in Galata area, take a cruise to the Asian side and then enjoy a glamorous dinner at the restaurant on top of Istanbul Modern Museum with an amazing view of the Bosphorus.

Istanbul has countless restaurants, terraces and hotels designed to make you feel comfortable and help you escape the noisy streets. They are also a source of inspiration if you love the feminine romantic style of interior design.

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7 Design lessons we can learn from Istanbul: Color is everything

As a returning traveler to Istanbul I developed a special bond with this city where its chaotic order has always made me feel more welcomed than anywhere else.

It’s a place that celebrates people, life, art and of course, design. For this reason I think we can all learn a bit from it’s lively landscapes and integrate them in our own love for the beautiful.

Lesson 1

If there is any word to completely describe Istanbul, that is the word ‘color’! From the buildings of Balat neighbourhood, the shiny mosaic lamps hanging in small shops, the spices in bazaars to the graffiti on the walls this city’s vibe is all about the mix of color.

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The city of cats

No doubt about it, Istanbul is the city of cats!

They are at every corner: in the middle of Istiklal street, eating in packs on narrow streets, sleeping on top of cars, in shop windows, inside pubs, in the gardens of Sultanahmet. People love them, feed them and they make even special pet houses to keep them warm in the cold season.

It’s like the Turkish people understood the great philosophy of these pets: you never really own a cat. You can enjoy having them around, their playfulness, you can feed them and get lucky if they show you affection. But these animals are completely free and the residents of Istanbul seem to be very aware of it.

So here are a few examples of the carelessness and cuteness of cats in Istanbul:

Love and vintage furniture
Love and vintage furniture

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The cats and the sea
The cats and the sea

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Long way up!
Long way up!
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Oh look! A bug!

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Little houses for cats in every neighbourhood
Sometimes I take the dog’s room
Probably the most comfortable position for sleeping!
Probably the most comfortable position for sleeping!
Little ball of black fur!
Little ball of black fur!
So what if you wanna sit here and have coffee? this is my spot!
So what if you wanna sit here and have coffee? this is my spot!
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Romance in the city
It's not easy to live like a thug
It’s not easy to live like a thug
Bad ass cat with a bad ass bike!
Bad ass cat with a bad ass bike!
Oh so you want to sit while you wait in queue? Too bad...
Oh so you want to sit while you wait in queue? Too bad…
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Stop throwing nuts at me, people! I’m not a squirrel!

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#throwback Tuesday – Whitby, a medieval tale

Imagine you are on an adventure and left the green and cosy Shire of the hobbits to find new exciting places with long forgotten fortresses and tales. No, we’re not in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ story, but once you arrive in Whitby you will definitely feel like you’ve fallen into one.

As promised in a previous #throwback, I have other memories to share from my voyages to England. This is one road trip me and my friends took with no expectations whatsoever. We wanted to get to the North Sea so we randomly pinned a point on the map, set the GPS and off we went!

And when we got out of the car we saw this…

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Aside from the fact that it was cloudy, too cold for June and I had no pro camera at that time to capture the sights, I was blown away (pun intended) by the wind and this little town of Yorkshire.

In a few words, this settlement appears to be as old as the 7th or 8th century, build around an Anglo-Saxon monastery of the Middle Ages. The Whitby Abbey, or what is left of it is the central focus also being present in Bram Stoker’s novel ‘Dracula’.

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Right. Here is goes:

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Creepy isn’t it? Imagine walking here in the middle of the night, wind blowing to your years, hearing the waves crushing to the cliff… Best idea for a romantic walk!C360_2014-06-15-15-31-15-781 20140615_153305 20140615_153645 20140615_154125

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This must be the strangest looking church I’ve ever seen:

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A few souvenirs to buy from the abbey – Hangover Cure and Bath Crystals for lovers. Bath crystals, seriously? Everybody knows they hardly ever took baths in the Middle Ages!

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Walking around the streets of Whitby was a true test of resisting all the sweet temptations out there. I’ve never seen so many candy shops and mobile ice cream trucks in one place in my life!

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I love the way people here make the entrance doors look so friendly and bright.

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This just made my heart melt 🙂

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Anywhere you look, there is a beautiful view of either the paved streets, the sea shore or just some good-looking houses that people care to keep them in the medieval scenery. Who knew that taking a random road trip in Yorkshire you can find such incredible places? Another good reason to go and explore England some more with the first occasion I get.

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(Despite the cold I couldn’t resist taking a picture in this beautiful landscape with my traditional Romanian blouse from Iiana)

Going Green

It’s not something new that the more we evolve the more we’re inspired by nature in all aspects of our lives. We try to eat as much raw and unprocessed food as possible, we go back to lively landscapes instead of shopping malls and try to recreate pieces of untouched nature in our homes. I personally see it as a comeback to our true self, an acknowledgement of being part of this wonderful Universe and not separated from it.

This is probably why the ‘Back to Nature’ trend is so appealing and used by designers in shaping interiors. The colour palettes of 2015 include more greens than ever and we have a comeback of  the Scandinavian type of decorations using leafy patterns, prints of wild animals and antlers on the walls.

During my visit to Thessaloniki I stayed at City Hotel, close to the sea. The hotel lobby embraces the ‘Green’ style in terms of design and makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a small forest in the middle of the city. I took some pictures during the day and also in the evening when the lobby is empty and you can get a warmer feel of the interior.

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I like how they integrated classical objects such as the Eames plastic side chairs or industrial tables in the natural inspired space just to remind you that we are still in an urban area.

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My favourite pieces from the whole setting and definitely the most comfortable, the rattan hanging chairs.

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Below I’ve gathered  some products that I think will match this ‘Back to Nature’ theme. Some are found on various websites, some I actually used in my work of purchasing and curating. Which one is your favourite?

#throwback Tuesday – Skipton, North Yorkshire

If you’ve ever been to the English countryside you can definitely understand why they call it the land of god. Those red brick houses, old churches, stone walls and sheep scattered over the green fields make you feel like you’ve fallen into a fairy tale. If it doesn’t rain of course. Which it does. Pretty much all the time.

I stayed for a couple of days in Yorkshire, North England taking the train and car from Preston to Burnley to Blackpool and back again.

And while I saw most of the scenery from outside the window, I got to spend the night in this lovely little town called Skipton. This ‘little town’ has channels like Bruges, a local boat festival and a medieval castle! And of course countless pubs and a fancy inn right in the heart of it with typical country wood furniture.

So enough with the talk, enjoy the images! The pictures are of course not professional and mostly Instagram filtered but enough to give you the feeling of travelling through the Middle Earth of hobbits.

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Peek view from inside the pub: aside from the traditional pint fillers you’ll be impressed by the dark wood furniture and typical English decorations – shabby lamps and ornamental ceramic plates.

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Having tea and biscuits in Ashleigh’s kitchen

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And just a glance at the hotel room. Unfortunately the images are really bad, I took the pictures late at night when the light was poor and I myself was a bit shaky from all the pints 🙂

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People going to visit England, just get out of London! Take a Virgin train up north to Yorkshire or Lancashire or south to Suffolk and discover the real beauty of this place. Its pride is not just the well preserved buildings and landscapes but also its friendly cheery people and the history behind it all. More to come in future throwback episodes 😉

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