• Turkish delights

    by  • Thursday, August 25, 2011 • Decorating and interiors • 8 Comments

    Ah, it’s been a while, friends. But I’ve blown the dust off the old WordPress dashboard and managed to locate the log in password lurking in the darkest corner of my holiday-addled brain. For the past few weeks, I’ve been pottering around Istanbul taking low resolution disappointing iPhone photos of cushion covers, admiring amazing architecture, loitering in markets and developing a serious apple tea (or elma çay) habit. Despite my best intentions, I returned to London with a suitcase packed full of beautiful Turkish home accessories, of course…

    A metal tray and a set of six pretty little tea glasses were the first things that slipped in to my shopping bag as I tried (unsuccessfully) to haggle. Apple tea (which, if you have the powdered kind, is basically just sugar with four different e-numbers added – no wonder it’s so addictive) is drunk by everyone everywhere in Turkey, so, like typical tourists, we stocked up on a few boxes which will no doubt sit in our kitchen cupboard for the next ten years, alongside the suspicious ‘spices’ we picked up in Marrakesh.

    Luckily, you don’t have to hang out in the Grand Bazaar to get the gear… 1. Idyll Home sells beautiful Turkish tea glasses and china saucers; 2. Dotcomgiftshop does a bargainacious hammered metal tray; 3. You can even get hold of the dreaded apple tea powder from Goodness Direct. Diabetics, beware…

    The next thing I accidentally bought was a beautiful ‘Suzani’ quilt from Uzbekistan. Not strictly-speaking Turkish, but sold everywhere IN Turkey, so bear with me. Apparently, Suzani quilts are traditionally bridal dowry blankets – embroidered by hand by Uzbek women who start sewing when a girl is born and continue, with the help of family and friends, until her wedding day when the quilt is completed and presented to her. The bold, folk-style patterns and the bright colours are gorgeous – and every throw is unique so it took me about three hours to choose one…

    Again, while it’s certainly cheap as chips to pick up a beautiful Suzani bedspread like this in a Turkish market, you can get the look in the UK, too… 1. Check out the Uzbek-inspired designs from the talented Niki Jones; 2. Shop at Yurdan for the real deal (but at highly-inflated prices).

    Of course, no trip to Turkey would be complete without a visit to a mosque’s hammam – a traditional Turkish bath house where you lie on a slab of hot marble then get covered in foam and flipped about like a baby by a large Turk. It was all good fun and the full body massage was amazing – if a little painful at times. The hammam we visited had a whole room full of beautiful woven cloth towels (peştamalsin pleasing stacks – like some heavenly linen cupboard. Emerging like a mole, blinking in the daylight, weak, dazed and highly-polished, I marched straight to the local market and bought six for next to nothing.

    Luckily, you don’t have to lie topless in a stone chamber having your shoulder knots kneaded by gigantic hairy elbows to get hold of a hammam towel, although they’re not cheap outside of Turkey. 1. Pop to L’Aviva Home to see a huge selection of designs and colours; 2. Head to Toast for beautiful loom-woven ones with knotted fringing. They’re Anatolian, dahling, yah, and you can even find traditional hammam olive oil soaps at tasteful Toast, too.

    Luckily, easyJet is quite generous on the old baggage allowance front. - Ellie

    8 Responses to Turkish delights

    1. Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      The Suzani quilt is beautiful. The colours and patterns are so vibrant!

    2. Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 4:14 pm

      Glad to hear you had a good time, and managed to pick up some lovely goodies! Nice to see you back!

    3. Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a beautiful bedspread!

    4. Decorator's Notebook
      Friday, August 26, 2011 at 9:19 am

      I loved this post and can’t wait to see all your goodies! I should’ve mentioned that there’s an amazing Turkish supermarket in Sydenham so no need to take up your baggage allowance with boxes of tea… might’ve saved you enough space for a couple of extra towels! x

    5. Friday, August 26, 2011 at 10:23 am

      Lol, I too have spices from Marrakech in my cupboard which have been untouched for a year! Great post though, and some lush pictures.

    6. Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      I’m so glad to see on the blog talking about my country. Thank you.
      greetings from Turkey

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