Hosting Fashion Flash

Fashion FLash logo-1It’s always a pleasure hosting Fashion Flash and this weekend it’s my turn. I’m doing so from Spain. Summer is approaching fast and with it sun and heat as well as a delightful accessory, no Spanish lady can do without:  The Fan. Spanish designers have elevated the simple fan to a fine art form. I was happy to have discovered a glamorous boutique in Nerja on Spain’s Costa del Sol, which specialises in handpainted fans made from silk and other valuable materials. They even come with matching jewlery. Have a look at the collection:




And here are the posts of my fellow Fashion Flash writers.

Josephine 0f chic at any age says:


Broderie Anglaise can add femininity to an outfit.

Barbara Hannah Grufferman, author of THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER50, traveled to Israel not long ago and dug up some beauty and health secrets of the gorgeous women who live there.


Cindy of Prime Beauty:


Prime Beauty has uncovered fabulous drugstore gem in the <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>NYC All-In-One Lip Color.</a> The $2.99 price is a beauty bargain!

 Melanie of Society Wellness shares another simple summer recipe this week: a Chia fruit salad.
Deb of No-Nonsense Beauty Blog investigates: Is Kale really a superfood?
Erika from Notesfrommydressing table says:
Bargain Beauty Find! L’Oreal Infallible Pro Matte Gloss combines long wear, a soft, demi matte finish, gorgeous colors to suit any skin tone and a wallet friendly price.
Beth of Style at a Certain Age says:
Summer has arrived! Which means only one thing-vacation. Check out Style at a certain age for a little outfit inspiration.
Marcia of Beauty Info Zone says:
Charity and a wonderful fragrance is what Beauty Info Zone found in Loving fragrance by Revelations. Read for yourself what love and hope can do to help with a cure.

Portofino- Impressions of a Writer Friend

My delightful writer friend Barbara Athanassiadis allowed me to reproduce this lovely story about Portofino. After reading this, who wouldn’t want to pack their bag and go??


In Italy there are many beautiful places. Some, however, are not only beautiful, but unique, unforgettable. Among these is Portofino, the pearl of the Italian Riviera. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder mentions it under the name of Portus Delphini because of dolphins swimming off the bay. We do not know whether the first inhabitants were the Phoenicians, the Greeks or the Romans.

On the other hand, more than its story is the extraordinary beauty that characterizes it. Portofino is part of the baggage of my fondest memories that continues to enchant me. I stay for a couple of days, on the way from Rome to southern France, but this is where I most enjoy what the Italians call the sweet “far niente”. Thus, my only activity is gentle strolls, without getting tired, or without searching for hidden beauties, since they are offered to me openly.


The sea, of a colour ranging from dark green to cobalt blue, insinuates itself into the small bays enclosed by steep cliffs covered with pine, palm and cypress trees that hide villas of a particular architectural style, characteristic of northern Italy. I walk the paths immersed in vegetation and at every turn I see a spectacular landscape. But the secret of the charm of Portofino does not derive from its simplicity.

Each element is part of a harmonious whole, far from affectation. The houses overlooking the harbor adhere to one another with their green shutters and walls painted in ocher, yellow and red. Even here, in this place where Art does not have a place, the colours help to deceive us. The balconies, for example, seem to be real while, in fact, they are only paintings. Before nightfall, the fishermen drag in the little boats onto the shingle and only the larger boats are moored in the middle of the bay.

The sailing boats and yachts, however, are moored at the western bank of the port, at the foot of a wooded promontory dominated by Castle Brown, named after the British Consul of Genoa, who was the owner. Since the fifties, Portofino began to be frequented by actors and people of the jet-set: Rex Harrison bought a villa on the hills, while Ava Gardner, Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart came there for the filming of the movie “The Barefoot Contessa”. Today Portofino has no need of the legends of the cinema. Thanks to its simple charm, the owners of the exquisite homes on the hills are able to appreciate the beauty of the landscape. Dinner at Puny confirms it.


My hotel is called “Splendido”. Thanks to its panoramic position, I think it’s one of the most beautiful hotels in Italy. It is distinguished by its hanging gardens adorned with exotic and Mediterranean plants, a gardening style particularly appreciated by the gardeners of the Ligurian Riviera. The hotel is connected to the little port through a series of steps. It takes up to ten minutes and the walk culminates in a stone arch, probably medieval, where you reach the quay along which are the boutiques and bars for an apperitivo.

At sunset, when the tourists have gone, it is easy to come across some famous Italian tycoons intent on playing chess in a bar, or a queen who walks by with her children. Moments of relaxation for all. At night, while sitting on the terrace of my room overlooking the lit castle, I realize I have written only the good things. But it is not an exaggeration. In fact, this is a place to which nature has bestowed gifts lavishly, and beauty is not in the service of a dream, but of reality. A reality that Italians are able to value at its maximum.

Images: The Hotel Splendido with its spectacular view and San Giorgio print by John Galbo

My books about Italy, illustrated with colour images, are available on:


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‘Between the Years’ Fashion Flash

I have the pleasure to be this year’s last host for all my lovely companions from Fashion Flash. Here are their newest stories.

Fashion FLash logo-1

Melanie of Society Wellness shares a Mediterranean quinoa recipe that will turn everyone into a quinoa lover!


Deb of No-Nonsense Beauty Blog lists her no-nonsense health and beauty resolutions for the New Year.


Cindy of Prime Beauty says: You won’t want to miss the NEW Too Faced Limited Edition Love Flush Blush Wardrobe!


Have you discovered the benefits of aromatherapy? Jackie Silver of Aging has the details.

Josephine of says:

During this holiday period we are all busy. Easy and quick ways to make a day outfit ready for evening.

Marcia of BeautyInfoZone says: Beauty is literally in the eye of the beholder and BeautyInfoZone wants to help your eyes get more beautiful with GradeLashProducts.

Barbara Hannah Gruffermann, author of THE BEST OF EVRYTHING AFTER 50 and AARP You Tube host, wants you to live your best life in 2016…starting right here.


Music Artist and lead singer for the band Gossip Beth Ditto, collaborates with fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier on plus size limited edition t-shirt.


Mary Lou says: Here’s a post about a Christmas Rose that’s a sweet smelling second life story. Our gift to you this holiday season.

To all my readers a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year, full of fun and beauty.





72 hours in poetic Linz/Austria

My writer friend Reza Amirinia, owner of fell in love with Linz/Austria on first sight. From making Linzer Torte and listening to opera to going on a river cruise and wearing the soles of his shoes thin from all the walking: here is his account!
I had only 72 hours to explore Linz, Austria’s third largest city, just enough to get an overview. For me, it was love at first sight. We walked through the old town, following our guide, passing small court yards with arches, colorful houses in narrow streets, boutiques with attractive displays, trendy cafés with colorful chairs and tables spreading out into the alleys. It was a pleasure to see some small chapels plus the Gothic masterpiece of Mariendom, the biggest cathedral in Austria which was built in 19th century.

The spires of Linz

The spires of Linz

September sunshine and all the beauty around me put music in my step. It is no surprise that the city has inspired famous musicians and composers such as Mozart and Beethoven and is proud to have its own iconic musical son, Anton Bruckner who was brought up in Linz.

After an uphill climb we reached the modern Schloss (Castle) museum, built over the remains of the castle, exhibiting the cultural heritage of the region. The museum, with its beautifully decorated restaurant, is one of the highest points in the city and offers stunning views over bell towers, church spires and the Nibelungenbridge . 250 m long and 30 m wide, the Nibelungen Bridge extends over the Danube River, which forms a natural boundary between the north (Urfahr) and south (Innenstadt). In 1497 it is was a wooden bridge replaced in 1869 by a new steel bridge. This was not wide enough for traffic to pass across and had to be replaced by a new bridge built in 1940, commissioned by Hitler.

After the war Linz was an occupied city, divided into American and Russian controlled zones for 10 years. The checkpoints were placed on the bridge to control the movement of people and cars. During the Roman Empire ,this crossing was also the borderline between the Romans and Barbarians.

We walked down the steps towards the northern part of the town which leads to Hauptplatz, a large square in the heart of the city. We passed through the narrow streets, lined by four to five story buildings painted in hues of pink, white and gray with windows ledges decorated with hanging baskets full of flowers.

The vast rectangular shape of Hauptplatz is the main hub of the city connecting Landstrasse, a street full of shops crossing through the older part of the town (the Innenstadt) in the south and leading to Nibelungen Bridge in the north where Ars Electronica, an art and science museum is located. The glass walls of the museum become a light show, flashing different colours at night.
As I walked into the square, I saw the Baroque Holy Trinity Column, which is a statute in the middle of Hauptplatz surrounded by beautiful buildings, cafes and restaurants. In the east side of the square, lie the Town Hall and Linz’s oldest cathedral built in 1683.

Holy Trinity Column/Linz

Holy Trinity Column/Linz

In the evening, I had an invitation to visit the Musiktheater am Volksgarten, one of Europe’s most modern opera houses, to watch La Traviata produced by the famous director, Robert Wilson and performed by the Linz Bruckner Orchestra. I must admit I do not know much about Opera and obviously I could not understand the Italian sung on stage, but I sensed the beauty of their acting and the power of their voices as the story unfolded. I read the subtitles which helped me to follow the plot. It was a captivating performance accompanied by a satisfying auditory experience and very effective lighting.

My second day in Linz started with a river cruise aboard the MS Linzerin. The Danube River allowed us to explore the city from different perspectives, discovering it’s past and present history.

River Danube dividing Linz

River Danube dividing Linz

Our boat departed from the quay next to Lentos Modern Art Museum. Along the river’s south bank, I found the Donaupark which is an open art gallery celebrating Linz’s industrial status. This long strip of parkland running from Nibleungen Bridge to the Eisenbahn Bridge displays very large steel sculptures.

On the north side of the river, beautiful green landscapes circle around the city. As we sail past the park the old shipyards and industrial units come into view. On the horizon, I can see the smoke coming from the steel factories. As the boat moves smoothly near the small islands, industrial buildings and cargo ships merge with open-air galleries. The huge graffiti paint façade of the buildings in this area by renowned artists creates a distinctive appeal for cruise boats passing by. These harbour galleries are one of the most popular attractions in Austria. This short boat trip was a very interesting educational experience to get a glimpse of nature and industry combining within the city.

The Linzer Torte is a typical souvenir from Linz. I visited Jindrak, the famous Linz bakery in Herrenstraße to participate in a group-baking workshop with Master confectioner Leo Jindrak. We were given a ready-made circled dough made of flour, unsalted butter and egg. I covered the dough with jam and then rolled pieces of the same dough to make several strips dusted with confectioner’s sugar. I put a matrix of thin strips on the top of the jam to form a crisscross design. I brushed the pastry lightly with egg yolks and added sliced almonds for decoration before it was put into the oven. It was a fun experience to make my own cake supervised by Leo. The Linzer Torte, a traditional cake in Austria is the sweetest gift to take home.

My third day in Linz began with a visit to Höhenrausch 2015 in OK Platz, a centre for contemporary art. It is set up in the city centre and is built over the rooftops of the city’s buildings linking a 60-meter tower to the Ursuline church bell tower. Art exhibits are displayed in hallways and stairwells. In 2015, the Centre focuses on birds as a means of communicating between heaven and earth to explore artistic curiosity and fantasy. Here the complex theme of birds has been used as a tool to project dreams and illusions. On the roof, the cages were dedicated to various bird species, which were transferred from various zoos in Austria.

After experiencing the exhibition, I climbed 120 steps to the top of the 60-metre wooden tower to get a 360-degree panoramic overview of Linz. I was told that, on a clear day, I could even see the Alps.

Visiting the Brucknerhaus on the Danube waterfront completed my last evening in Linz. We had dinner with the artistic director, Mr. Frey at Anklang Restaurant before joining other guests to listen to the Vienna Philharmonic as part of International Brucknerfest 2015.

Linz is a vibrant city, which looks forward to a bright future. It has a lot to offer to visitors from history to art, music and nature. I wish I had more time to explore its hidden courtyards, strolling in the old city, and hiking in parks across the river. I certainly want to return.

View more images of Linz by Reza Amirinia.

Turkey 4 Day Blue Cruise

A holiday on the Turkish coast is a splendid way to spend your summer and taking a peaceful cruise will ensure your experience will be breathtaking.


The most enthralling way of experiencing the Mediterranean is with Blue Cruises Turkey. Infinite options wait whether you want to walk among ancient civilizations, bask in the sun, or eat your way through delectable Turkish cuisine. Sailing the blue seas on a gulet while you gaze at the immaculate environment of the Turkish Riviera is quite possibly the most sublime holiday anyone could ask for.

Enjoy the crystal clear water

Enjoy the crystal clear water

What to Eat

Blue cruises stop in towns and villages from Fethiye to Olympos, which all have a unique flavor to encounter.

Fethiye is famous for the local fish market where you see fishmongers offering their fresh local catch. Choose from octopus, king prawns, calamari, sea bass, or cuttlefish among many other options! They will clean your seafood then send to one of the many surrounding restaurants to cook to your liking. Mezes allow you to try various flavors from smoked aubergine to yogurt with dill and mint. An excellent companion to any fish dish is the local anise-flavored liquor, Raki, which is not for the weak hearted.

A selection of Mezze

A selection of Mezze

Another stop on most blue cruises is at the historical Saint Nicholas Island. There you will see typical Turkish mothers on small boats cooking the delightful gozleme. Gozleme is a rolled out pastry dough dusted with eggs and cooked to perfection on a griddle. You can choose a sweet or savory filling from Nutella to spinach and white cheese, or feta, as most of us know it.

Small boats selling ice cream can also be seen in some secluded bays where your tour will stop for a quick dip. There’s nothing better than ice cream on a scorching hot day and even better when delivered by boat.

If you love ice cream, be sure to taste the homemade sweet treat in the sunken city of Kekova. After exploring Simena Castle, a break in the city center of Kekova with a waffle cone full of luscious ice cream will tickle your taste buds and boost your energy.



What to Buy

Making big purchases such as carpets and kilims should be made in larger cities like Antalya and Istanbul. The process of going through carpets to find one that attracts your eye combined with the haggling process that becomes a game ensures you will spend hours of your day in the carpet-lined shops. You will have plenty of black or apple tea with the salesman and if your energy gets low they may even order you lunch.

The small towns along the Alaturka cruise such as Kas, Demre and Kekova offer many traditional souvenirs that you should not pass by.

The most recognizable of all trinkets is the nazar boncugu or evil eye. The bright blue eye comes in many forms though the most common is the round glass wall hanging. The all seeing eye comes in many shapes and sizes and is almost always made of glass. There are also many eyes integrated into beaded and blown glass jewelry if you prefer to wear your protection.

Hand crafted ceramics are also a popular choice for classic Turkish crafts. Bowls painted with Ottoman designs in bright colors of red, cobalt blue, turquoise, yellow, green, and orange are just a few colors that will provide plenty of options for you. Iznik tiles displaying a flower or tulip motif may better suit your taste. Or find a white whirling dervish topped with a bright turquoise hat.

Mosaic lamps are also a beautiful choice to remember your time on an Alaturka Cruise. Studded with small glass tiles in all the colors of the rainbow will make a beautiful addition to anyone’s home. Some larger shops will even take care of shipping if you don’t want to carry it on the rest of your journey.

Of course natural olive oil products such as soap, cooking oil, lip balms, and lotions are a nice token of your adventures on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey.

What to Do

Watersports are popular for anyone interested in water slides, ringo rides, wake boarding and water skiing.

Kas is especially famous for diving through caves, reefs and sunken ships. The marine life will keep you entertained and you may be lucky enough to swim along huge sea turtles that call this area home.

For those brave enough, paragliding and parasailing are an excellent way to experience the lush environment and crystal blue Mediterranean.

Delve into ancient civilizations from the many churches, ruins, amphitheaters and castles from Fethiye to Olympos and everywhere in between.

A perfect choice for your holiday in southern Turkey is to join an Alaturka cruise to encounter the endless delights of this country.

Read more about the 4 best things which make a Blue Cruise so special.