Blond (con)fusion S01E05

July 04, 2014
It’s Tuesday morning and I am hurriedly writing this column, trying at the same time to adjust to the changes of scenery which in the past few days have been more than rapid.

Allow me to explain… Last night I was enjoying chilled champagne in the company of close friends by the private pool of the penthouse suite in the King George hotel with a view of the illuminated Acropolis, in the framework of the Ultimate Cigar dinner we hosted to celebrate the official opening of The FnL Cigar Club. The project was a great success, but for me the highlight of the evening was later that night, or rather in the early hours of the morning, when those of us still up sat back in comfortable armchairs on the veranda, basking in the enchantment and – by that time – tranquillity of the night.

Tranquillity that for me personally was more than necessary since we had just returned the previous afternoon from Istanbul, where we had spent a delightful four days as guests of the Turkish embassy. Istanbul is very beautiful and enormous, and no matter how you try to fit everything in, you definitely need more than a week to see it all. We did our best and took in as many museums as possible. We visited Topkapi, Hagia Sophia and Istanbul Modern, we took a boat ride on the Bosporus, wandered through markets, ate at six amazing restaurants and, to cut a long story short, nearly died of exhaustion, since we are not in the best physical shape and certainly not accustomed to so much walking. My personal highlights were the visit to the Harem where, after four seasons of the TV series based on the life of Suleiman the Magnificent, I felt quite at home, the boat trip on the Bosporus during which – on the Asian side – we admired some of the most beautiful – and expensive – seafront residences we have ever seen, the drink we had on the veranda of the Four Seasons hotel, the finest yogurt kebab in the universe at the Beyti restaurant, and the “store” with fake designer handbags to which our guide took us and where I was utterly astonished, but I’ll fill you in on the details when the time comes. And of course, the mind-blowing – perhaps even salvational – Extravagant Pleasures package at Ayasofia Hurrem Sultan Hamami, which was almost a metaphysical experience. Housed in the original building, the hamam was designed and constructed by the architect Mimar  Sinan in 1556 at the request of Hurrem Sultan, wife of Suleiman the Magnificent.

As soon as you enter you are dumbstruck by the luxuriousness, the marble and the attention to detail. You are given a traditional silk pestamal to wear (similar to a pareo) and a pair of wooden slippers, before being led into the hamam for 75 minutes of total pampering. Steam, hot water, aromatic soaps, essential oils, a clay body mask and a massage that makes your bones feel like they have turned to butter, all for around €100. If you are in Istanbul, don’t miss it. I will definitely be going again. To both the city and the hamam…  

Prior to all this – that is, before Istanbul – I was working like mad trying to upload as much material as possible for FnL’s English version you`re reading now. In the meantime, I managed to order another pair of sandals, quite plain and unadorned this time from the Grecian Chic . I had a tough time deciding which design to choose because they are all gorgeous, but in the end I went for the Niovi in nude colour with a touch of gold, which I think will go very nicely with almost all my clothes. Their service is impeccable, my package has already arrived; they are super fast.

Lastly, since we are on the subject of online shopping, my latest craze is the American reality TV series Ladies of London that airs on Bravo and which I watch with near religious devotion. I won’t bore you with the details, it’s all quite silly really, but it does provide a bold and thoroughly refreshing dose of my beloved London, though I digress. One of the participants is Caroline Stanbury, owner of Gift Library. An e-shop where you will find some real treasures, such as those Peggy Striped  sunglasses by House of Holland, which… OK, may not be cheap, but I think they are the most attractive and stylish thing I have seen recently and I can’t wait to wear them. If you browse the site you will find many interesting items, such as Silken Favours silk cushions, Feu de Beaumont candles and Caran d’Ache luxury writing instruments.  

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