Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lamu Style - Kenya

Only recently did I discover the beautiful Lamu style interiors and I got so excited when I saw the stunning environment, gorgeous homes with white plastered walls and colorful interiors that I wanted to share it with you!

Lamu is an island situated off the East African Coast close to the northern coast of Kenya to which it belongs. Lamu island can only be reached by boat but there is an airstrip on Manda island close by. Lamu is a Muslim community and welcomes all visitors. The community speaks Swahili which is a Bantu language spoken by the various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Indian Ocean coastline.

Swahili architecture is a style of building along the eastern and southeastern coasts of Africa. The style originated from Arabia and Persia with a strong African influence. Architectural elements include arches, courtyards, a niche in the wall (mihrab), isolated women's quarters, towers and decorative elements on the buildings themselves. Swahili craftsmanship is of the highest quality and the dark wood furniture contrasts beautifully with the white plastered walls. The interior instills a sense of simplicity, yet graceful and stylish with neutral as well as rich, bright colors.

All the above images were taken at the beautiful luxurious rental homes Bembea and Jaha, located at the picturesque fishing village of Shela. The homes were built in traditional Swahili architectural style and are furnished with stylish but comfortable eclectic furnishings. The bedrooms are decorated with Lamu four poster beds, mosquito nets, and dressing tables. For more information contact Herbert Menzer at

Images by Roland Klemp

I hope you enjoyed it! Next time more about the colorful interior style of Lamu.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kennedy's Beach Villa - Guest house

We have known Arwie and Ymile Kennedy for over twenty years. They are very warm and loving people and own a beautiful guest house in Onrus, South Africa. Onrus is located a few minutes away from the popular whale watching town Hermanus, close to the most southern tip of Africa. Kennedy's Beach Villa is an exclusive B & B or Self Catering villa and offers a private apartment for two guests at a time.

The Beach Villa is very inviting with elegant interiors and a warm atmosphere. It is a spacious open-plan Villa hidden at the estuary of the Onrus river. The en-suite room overlooks the beach and walks out onto a large deck.

The Villa has a beautiful view over the mountains, ocean and beach below with a milkwood forest that begins right outside the doors of the Villa and stretches all the way to the lagoon.

In complete seclusion and privacy underneath the milkwood trees is a free-standing antique bathtub for relaxation. There is a Victorian bathroom with a shower inside the villa as well. Aromatherapy massages are offered upon request for guests under the peaceful milkwood trees.

I hope you enjoyed the photos of the Kennedy's Beach Villa, it surely is a luxury, peaceful villa in a charming setting!

For more information about the Villa please contact the Kennedy's at

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

France - "Toile de Jouy"

Toile means "cloth" in French. "Toile de Jouy" refers to fabric that was first manufactured during the 1700's at a factory in Jouy-en-Josas, a village located southwest of Paris, near Versailles. Toile is a type of decorating pattern consisting of a white, off-white or colored background on which a repeated pattern is shown in the form of a picture of a fairly complex scene, generally of a pastoral theme or an arrangement of flowers.

Yellow and blue toile fabric from Thibaut

Yellow is the color of sunshine and is one of the most uplifting and versatile colors to use in decoration. It is the color associated with laughter, happiness and good times. The warmer butter yellows are easy to live with and create a wonderful sense of relaxation and evoke the warmth of Provence. Blue is a peaceful color with qualities of compassion and caring and is a retreat from the harsh and unkind world of everyday life.

Yellow and blue combined in interiors are one of my favorite color combinations. The dining room of the famous Impressionist painter Claude Monet at Giverny was decorated with yellow and touches of blue and it was here that he and his family enjoyed dining with friends.

The unique quality of the light and colors of Provence have been attracting artists, painters and tourists for years. What a joy of life!

Images: 1, 2 & 3 -  4, 5 & 6 - Donna Kennedy-Meyer

Friday, January 15, 2010

Romantic Wedding!

I am a total romantic! I would like to share some pictures with you of Donna and Wim's wedding. Donna is the daughter of a very precious friend of mine living in South Africa.

I have known Ymile for over twenty years. I have always admired her appreciation of beauty and sense of style. Ymile and her husband Arwie Kennedy own a guesthouse in Onrus, South Africa. We have shared wonderful times together at their lovely home, relaxing, laughing and enjoying delicious dinners while admiring the amazing view from their home.

Their beautiful daughter Donna got married to Wim Meyer at their home overlooking the mountains and ocean. The reception was held at their milkwood forest next to the sea.

Donna is wearing a sleek salmon-pink tulle dress decorated with turquoise hand-embroidered lace.

I hope you enjoyed these wonderful pictures as much as I did......what a romantic inspiration and joy of life!

Next week I will share about Ymile and Arwie Kennedy's gorgeous guesthouse!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Delicious and healthy Mediterranean diet

Photo by Jenny Downing

Photo by Martin Kingsley

Couscous with roasted vegetables (January 3, 2010 on my blog) and Greek chicken with olives, carrots, lemon and celery (November 22, 2009 on my blog)

When I think of a Mediterranean diet I picture Europeans dining at small restaurants along coastal villages such as Portofino and Positano dining on meals of chicken, fish, vegetables, fruits, crusty whole grain bread dunked in some extra-virgin olive oil and parmesan cheese with a glass of red wine.

Olive Tapanade on baguette

Photo and recipe by Norwhichnuts

1 cup black olives
1 cup green olives
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup red peppers
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp mustard
Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon capers
6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Sprinkle some extra-virgin olive oil on baking sheet and place olives, red peppers and garlic on sheet - roast 7 minutes at 375* F.
Place all ingredients except extra-virgin olive oil in blender and pulse. Add the extra-virgin olive oil a little at a time.
Spoon on baguettes and bake at 325* F for 10 minutes or place on grill and warm through.

Photo by Dags 1974 photostream

Photo by Jimmy Harris

Europeans don't think of their diet as a diet plan, for them it is simply a way of life. They get plenty of exercise by walking everywhere and together with their healthy way of eating it leads to healthy, long lives free of chronic diseases.

Photo by antmoose photostream

Photo by designatednaphour

The Mediterranean diet consists of fruit, vegetables, fish, chicken, nuts, beans, whole grains, olives, seeds, etc. that provide antioxidants, micronutrients, vitamins and minerals that protect against, cancer, heart diseases, Alzheimer's disease, etc. The Europeans use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods. They eat small portions of nuts, drink red wine in moderation and consume very little red meat. The diet's greatest resource is its reliance on extra-virgin olive oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is beneficial to the digestive system, reducing the creation of ulcers. Extra-virgin olive oil is a good source of vitamin E and is believed to sustain human metabolism at a good balance. More advantages of extra-virgin olive oil and the different types of olive oil can be seen on my December 20, 2009 blog.

Photo by theritters photostream

To tour the Mediterranean towns and eat the delicious foods is one of life's great joys! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Couscous salad with roasted vegetables

A few days ago I had to make a salad for a New years eve party. I wanted to break away from the usual salads that I make and looked for a recipe that was totally different. I came across this couscous salad with roasted vegetables and got so excited. I modified the recipe a little bit. I went to the store to get couscous and couldn't find the couscous that I normally get. The store only had Israeli (Jewish) pearl couscous and I decided to give it a try and bought it. Israeli couscous is also called "ptitim" and is a pasta product very similar to the Italian orzo. It is a common side dish in Israel and delicious. 

Israeli pearl couscous
Photo by

The couscous sold in the Western world are pre-steamed and dried couscous and boiling hot water or stock are added to it and then it should be covered for about 5 minutes. The couscous swells and after 5 minutes the couscous is ready to fluff with a fork and to be served.

Couscous served in the Western world

Couscous salad with roasted vegetables

2 cups of Israeli pearl couscous or regular couscous
3 cups of boiling hot chicken stock (2 cups for regular couscous)
6 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
3 Tablespoons bought basil pesto
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Roasted vegetables:
2 medium sized zucchinis, sliced
2 to 3 medium sized yellow squashes, sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into pieces
8 brown mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves minced
2 cups of butternut cut into cubes
1/2 cup of red onions cut into pieces
2 cups of asparagus cut into pieces
extra-virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
*If you prefer broccoli instead of asparagus use broccoli or any other vegetables you like

Put the couscous (Israeli pearl couscous) in a pot and pour over the hot stock and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the stock is absorbed. (You do not have to cook the western style couscous which is pre-steamed and instant.)
Preheat the oven to 400* F. Grease an ovenproof dish with nonstick spray. Arrange the vegetables, except the asparagus in a single layer in the prepared dish and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes until the vegetables are done but still crisp - add the asparagus after the first 10 minutes of roasting and stir the vegetables slightly. When the vegetables are done sprinkle with a little balsamic vinegar.

When the couscous are done stir in the extra-virgin olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto to make the couscous moist and fragrant. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

Add the roasted vegetables to the couscous and mix with the couscous. Add the feta cheese and mix with the roasted vegetables and couscous. This salad can be served warm or cooled down to room temperature and it is delicious served with beef or chicken.

Enjoy this delicious healthy is a real joy of life!

Images 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6 taken by me


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