Turkish delight

I have been to Turkey twice now. The first time to Bodrum and the next was to Istanbul ,both were interesting in their own ways.I will talk about both ,but there is one destination that I liked much more and that’s the one I would always recommend to others

Bodrum

Bodrum is located in south west of Turkey and is a great beach holiday destination and is popular with many tourists .These areas were specifically developed for tourism so they ensure that everyone is well catered for.

I was six months pregnant at the time and I had learned that the middle trimester is the best time for travelling as your energy levels are good and vitamin D from the sun is great for the babies bones development,that was an additional benefit .
Once we got to Bodrum we stayed at the Azka ,a lovely five star, all inclusive hotel ,with private access to the beach and all the pampering facilities you could wish for,but you soon realise that there’s only so much pampering you can take.

Turkish bath

This is a tradition in Turkey.
It’s one of the most relaxing experiences, I have ever had,you are in your swimwear and you have separate sections in the dome for men and women and I asked for a women to give me a bath, “Never thought I’d ever say that sentence,!
You walk into the bath’s dome like chamber where there are heated marble platforms it’s like a massive steam room after building up a sweat a woman came in and and started to exfoliate my body scrubbing down with a loofah and hot soppy water it was halfway between a slippery massage and a vigorous rub this lasted about 20 minutes.
After that, I had a hot oil massage where I could only lie on my side as I was pregnant but that massage was one of the best unwinding massages ever and the proof of how relaxing it was,is that I fell asleep.The masseuse did not even wake me up after she had finished.

We also booked the boat trip to Turtle beach and then onto the mud baths. It is a very long day with lunch on the boat but worth it and so much fun. We took the big boat over the sea for about 2 hours and stopped at Turtle beach for an hour or so, then it was into the little boats for the journey up the river. There are many beautiful sights on the way such as the tombs in the mountains.

The mud bath was interesting. You do have to dig around at the bottom for some fresh,soft mud to coat yourself in but this is half the fun! Then it’s onto a shower to rinse once it has dried and then into the sulphur pool which smells like rotten eggs but the mud leaves your skin beautifully soft for a good few days afterwards.
Even though I was sick after I got back to the hotel, due to all the travelling from this trip because it is a long day and quite exhausting.
The rest of the time we went to many small villages and a few more boats rides and to a nearby markets,I think Bodrum definitely is a great place to go and take the family but I wouldn’t go there again,as for me ,its one time visit sort of place.

Istanbul

Well this might be a long, you might wanna make a cuppa,
I went to Istanbul a couple of years after I had been to Bodrum and I was expecting the same as Bodrum but just more fast paced,this trip was a long weekend and it was the first time I had left my kids,it was just me and my husband and as soon as we got to the airport we decided take our time and explore so we took the tram from the airport to city centre and had lunch in a cafe and after we hopped back on the tram, to our hotel and everything was so easy to find and the Turkish people were so friendly and helpful. For example, someone on the tram gave us directions to our stop when he realised that we were tourists we did not even ask him, it must have been our confused faces that gave it away.
Generally the people were all so helpful and polite.
We got to the Erboy hotel ,it was perfect ,a central location from which we could see the Blue mosque from our hotel window,I could see people sitting around the square relaxing,chatting and having their afternoon Turkish tea,the atmosphere in Istanbul is so calm and composed everything looked so peaceful ,even though it was late autumn, it was not particularly cold.The weather does not affect the warm atmosphere in Istanbul.
It’s all so relaxed and everything looks at peace,a perfect chill that takes over you,putting you in a very tranquil state of mind,a very surreal feeling.
We went for our evening meal to a restaurant where even although it is shut down now,it was unique in that ,you sat on rugs and leaned on large cushions on the floor.We opted for a mixed grill with saffron rice and roasted veg till this day even although we have visited so many place and had many new dishes but that is still one of our most memorable meals .

Blue mosque

In the morning we started our tour,first we went to the Blue mosque/masjid it was a building of stunning beauty and architecture.Built between 1609-1616, this impressive masjid has six beautiful minarets.Apparently ,there are two stories as to why it is called the “Blue mosque “.The first and most popular is that because the interior is decorated with blue Iznik tiles. The second, is that ever since it was built,sailors who sailed by the mosque on the Marmara sea, saw the blue colours of the sea reflected on the marble walls . The Blue Masjid is truly an architectural marvel, and the interior is absolutely stunning with marble flooring and walls and with beautiful Quranic verses everywhere. Inside the Blue Masjid you really get a sense of pure peace and tranquility .We had a wonderful time seeing this beautiful and majestic masjid.One of the many holy sites to visit whilst in this historical city.
As a Muslim it is a great treat to pray in this exquisite masjid.

Hagia Sophia

Built nearly 1500 years ago,words cannot really do justice to the magnificence of this amazing building.The Byzantine emperor Justinian is who commissioned the building of this great “Church of Holy Wisdom”.
It now functions as a museum although the site itself is saturated in historical events.There is so much that can be said about this building alone, in that ,there are many books written about it.
The sheer size and beauty of this Basilica will leave you breathless and amazed even more so, when you consider it was built in just six years ,long before any modern building machinery.
Words cannot express the sense of awe you feel within this ancient cathedral which to me feels like one of the unlisted wonders of the world.
It bears the signs of multiple eras, with Christian, Viking and Muslim components. It is over a large site and has so much to see.
This magnificent temple, which was built in the heart of Constantinople beautifully reflects the merger of two cultures. The amazing mosaic artwork is preserved on the walls. Also notable are two candlesticks, which are from Cathedral of Buda. These candlesticks were placed here by S├╝leyman the Magnificent in 1526 to mark his conquest of Hungary.
My advice is to definitely visited the both places the mosque and the church as they are both in the same square

Topkapi place

This palace served as the residential and administrative centre for the Ottoman sultans.Built in the 15th century it now serves as a museum displaying various artefacts from various areas of the Caliphate which covered a vast region.
The skill and imagination of craftsmen from all over the Islamic world showing their talents in the design of extravagant clothes,jewellery,weapons and various utensils are on display.You can rent,quite inexpensively a head set which has a recording explaining the history behind the various exhibits and guides you around the tour.Again there is too much to list in a blog but all I can really say is that it is without doubt an amazing experience.

These three historical jewels are in close proximity to each other and can be visited in a day which would give you time to explore and take plenty of photoes.There are also plenty of places nearby to eat and drink also a wide variety of street vendors serving up local dishes and treats.

The Grand Bazaar

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Recently listed as one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world with over 91 million visitors every year.
The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest “shopping malls” in the world.It covers 61 streets and houses over 4000 shops where you can find almost anything.The layout is like a department store with categories of shops grouped together clothes,shoes,ornaments,local delicacies and so much more under this one great big roof.
Do remember to practice your haggling skills as that is definitely a requirement and adds to the fun of this unique experience .You can easily spend a few hours just exploring the variety of goods on offer.It is something that you could easily adjust depending on the amount of time available in your own schedule.

So from all this I’m sure you can tell which one I recommend to others
Yes it’s Istanbul and I would love to go back one day with my beautiful little explorers.Now that they’ve caught the travel bug.

Let me know what you think about Turkey?

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NY Girls therapy

An annual girls holiday ,is better than therapy says the Telegraph,
Therefore, for therapeutic reasons alone, I go annually with the girls ,for the sake of my health.I’m sure you understand.

New York
New York ,was my first girls holiday ever, it was bound to be a success .
We planned everything to a T, that made it less stressful and I only had to pack for myself,not for 2 kids and a husband so basically my holiday started from home! We went at Christmas time and that was perfect timing in my eyes and I would only go back at Christmas/ holiday season time now.

We got there on Christmas Eve so everything was alight !
Americans go big or go home! And I saw big alright! never till this day have I seen such extravagant lighting displays in shops and on the streets ,your eyes light up dazzled by all the excitement ,there is so much to see, the hustle’ n ‘bustle really leaves you buzzing.

The pictures I’ve put up do not do justice to the atmosphere.(as they were taken on my phone.)
I loved walking around in New York City everything thing seemed so familiar and unreal at the same time it was an insane feeling.

Times square

Wow! A lot to take in at first sight,what a spectacular ,man made commercial neighbourhood,no matter how many times you see it on tv and in movies it cannot prepare you for the visual overdose of lights I was in New York for a week and I went to Times square 5 times ,just to walk around or sit back and watch others running around, to God knows to where, even in the early hours of the morning!

Tips. Stand back and take your time
Don’t get stuck in the crowds of people or you will be stuck for ages.
Keep your belongings close to you !Lots of pick pocketing goes on.
Don’t bother taking taxis anywhere, they take longer then walking.

Brooklyn bridge

The bridge offers great panoramic views of New York City and is open 24/7 this bridge connects Manhattan to Brooklyn ,one of the best and most scenic walks ever you can see the Liberty island and most of NY it took us 15-20 min to walk across it,it gives you the opportunity to take pictures ,once on the other side ,we went to have pizza in a place called Grimaldi’s the queue was long ,apparently this ,is on the hit list for most visitors ,the pizza was lovely ,but not THAT great, that I would go back again and the service was non existent,so have patience and wait for the paper plates to arrive.

Tips. Wear the comfiest shoes/trainers you have!
Take Cash with you ,pizza place only takes cash
Time it ,so that you can see sunset or sunrise.
Morning is good cos you are full of energy
Take a tram to Manhattan

Shopping in NYC

Woodbury Common’s ,Macy’s ,Bloomingdales and Sephora(of course) and many many more!
Second day of the trip we went to Woodbury Commons we got the bus early in the morning about 9.30 it took an hour to get there,so not that long,this place has 220 stores at this outlet basically it was the size of a small town with all big designer names full with discounts and tourist get an extra discount book when you arrive
Amazing shopping experience I bought lots of things from NY I went crazy with my cards and I still wish I bought more.

Tips … Take a suitcase to Woodbury common’s
Take snacks with you
Start you shopping with shoes shops(Nike shop,Ugg Boots)they go fast

Central Park

I was staying at the Hilton hotel and that was only 3 min walk away from Central Park We left the park till the last day so we only had a couple of hours before we headed to the airport and I regretted that decision, as soon I entered the park ,there was so much to do there ,it was a green wonderland and what an iconic park it is,everything kept reminding me of my favourite childhood movie Home Alone.

Such a display of nature in the middle of a metropolis,really is magnificent.Like an oasis in the ever bustling desert of buildings in New York City.Trees,ponds,and horse n carriage rides that take you around the park.
I would love to visit again one day and spend a full day just in the park.

Tips.take your time

I would highly recommend New York as a girls holiday I don’t think it’s a good place for a family holiday and I’m glad I didn’t take my kids there,you could do all the things in 3days.so you could go for a long weekend and you could fit everything in,
Let me know if you have ever been? Or if your going?

Also a big shout out the halal guy right out side my hotel and served up the best shawarma,always had a long queue but so worth it

Scotland

The weather in Scotland is cold,silent and white they call it the beast from the east ,
the authorities issued a red weather ,warning of danger to life.
Snow blizzards,freezing rain and temperatures of -15c! sounds wonderful, doesn’t it ?
Thanks to global warming, our year round rain has turned in to snow flakes it’s been snowing for 4 days and nights and we have been house bound.
bad weather looks much nicer from a window in a warm house, “but mind you!
No milk ,no bread and hyperactive screaming kids that have been off school for 3days! makes the weather look not so bad, so time for a wee walk!

I moved to Scotland in 2007 from England and I learned very quickly, that I should not expect great things from the Scottish weather cos that year we had only a couple of weeks of Summer and apparently that’s a good summer here! where all the bravehearts,die hard Scots have personality transplants and start singing songs from la la land,lol, jokes aside Scottish people are lovey, I am married to one !so I’ve got to say that.

But this is home now ,Scotland is a great place to live or visit ,the country is full of beautiful scenery,greenery,mountains,hills and wilderness .Then there’s Loch Ness,with its very own Loch Ness monster while further up north you can enjoy breathtaking northern lights(aurora borealis) Autumn and winter are perfect to come to Scotland.

There’s a lot going on and New Year’s Eve known as Hogmanay is a well celebrated tradition up here!
Edinburgh also has the most magical Christmas markets on at that time, you will not be disappointed especially with warm waffles with all the toppings! Mm mm mm

Tips

Bring an umbrella (of course)all season gear, cos you can experience all four seasons in one hour, never mind a day.
Book in advance your train or bus tickets.
Accommodation in Edinburgh is expensive so book ahead or just stay in
Glasgow or Dunfermline and take the train.
Glasgow is a budget friendly city too and lots of free places to go
and don’t forget the national drink Irn bru!

Thanks for reading x

Some feedback would be great x

Bucket list

travel

My traveling obsession, started at the late age of 30! I always wanted to travel the world But my very unplanned life got in the way so everything was on hold
So at age 30, I had a early mid-life crisis! that’s the very first time I asked myself what Have I done? What do I remember? What makes me,me?
I could not name more then a hand full off absolute amazing memories
(it sounds sad now that I see it in writing)

Anyway that’s when I sat down one evening and wrote a list, not a wish list,a bucket list where I imagined I would pull one thing out of the bucket and I would need to do it so I started and I have been ticking things off that list, ever since,.

so if your thinking about travelling or even making a change in your life this is where to start…..
A list of things you would like to do in your life time and start doing them.
Start with the smallest and the easiest things on the list so you get the feeling of completion.
This won’t be easy cos life comes in the way but think about the feeling of achievement and the memories you will make for life so make your list
Thee list
A self promise
A game changer

Good luck x

There are many apps for bucket list and maps that you can mark countries you’ve been to…

How it all started

Hi My first ever readers

this is my first ever blog post ( I will try to make it short and sweet) my blogs will be based around traveling and lifestyle I am actually starting a blog cos I was told that blogging is just a long one way conversation so “basically me having a conversation with my husband”or anyone that will listen to my travels
So that Was my light bulb moment that blogging could be my travel diary and a conversation about my travels and I could give my tips an tricks on traveling as a
Independent hijabi women
Multitasking Mother
Understanding Wife
All rounder Sister
Worry free Friend
So you can enjoy your travels with anyone and live your best life.

Me in meteora Greece

And I would appreciate any advice or feedback about blogging thank you for having a read