The month of Ramadan has started today for Muslims around the world. We fast from sunrise to sunset and this year the days are shorter and cooler than last. I pray that we can make the most of these special days and that this month is a beneficial one for us all. I pray that we are forgiven of our sins, are able to re-connect with God, find peace and receive blessings. I especially pray that people that are in hardship find ease and that we can all be generous in giving whatever we can. Ramadan Mubarak.
Winter Lights 2023
With the winter days and nights being cold and dark there’s usually not a lot of motivation to do anything or go anywhere. To help with that Canary Wharf in London decided to hold a Winter Lights event, after a 2 years break due to the pandemic. I always enjoy art events so my sister and I decided to go take a look.
It was cold up so we wrapped up and went around to each of the 22 light installations. Some were really busy and it took us a couple of hours to get around to them all, but here are some of the ones I liked best.
My favourite was probably this giant floating Earth in the middle of water. I loved how it lit up in the dark.
I also really liked the glass elephants and the spinning top which reflected pretty lights around the room as it spun.
The coloured lights in the water creating shapes in the fog was fun to watch and the colourful benches were back too, always proving popular.
My sister and I enjoyed this event and it was a nice, free, family event that brought a bit of colour and creativity to winter.
Giant bubbles have appeared outside one of London’s famous landmarks – the Leadenhall building, also known as The Cheesegrater. The bubbles are an art piece called ‘Evanescent’ by design studio Atelier Sisu. The idea behind them is to entice people back into the city after the last few years and appeal to our childlike wonder and universal playfulness.
These bubble installations have been spotted in other major cities around the world too and I thought they were a lovely idea and were a pleasure to see.
Today is the last day of 2022. Reflecting back across the year, I didn’t have any grand plans at the start but it feels like it’s been an eventful one. I was finally able to travel abroad after a very long time and I managed to gain some new qualifications after a lot of hard work. There was also an addition to the family in my new little nephew. I hope the year was a fulfilling one for all of you, whatever you did.
Here are some of my favourite photos from the year gone by and as we move into 2023, I hope it’s a year full of good health and happiness, and everything we all want it to be. Happy New Year.
We’ve had an usually cold December in London. I woke up one morning to find everything covered in frost. It did make for some cool finds in the garden though.
I found white threads around the garden and upon closer inspection saw they were in fact spider webs!
And this poor rose looked quite beautiful but sad as it was covered in ice
It turned even colder in the following days and we had a good dousing of snow that was quite unusual. I didn’t venture out much but it does look so pretty and calm.
I hope everyone is staying warm and safe this Winter amidst any snow and blizzards that may arrive.
Istanbul – part 3
I did some shopping in Istanbul (of course), starting with a market in the area of Eminonu. It was a market that locals shop at so my sisters and I were hoping for some good bargains. We looked around and bought backlava, some oud in pretty colourful bottles and turkish delight.
There was lots to see, great smells and some lovely looking fresh produce. It took us a while to look around and finally make our way to the famous Grand Bazaar.
The Grand Bazaar was pretty touristy and really busy. We looked around but I didn’t find anything particularly appealing. There were lots of shops selling counterfeit designer bags and clothes and others selling jewellery and food. I only ended up buying some sweets for myself before heading for lunch at the famous Nusr-et.
After lunch we went to nearby Nuruosmaniye Mosque to pray. Afterwards we found a really steep narrow staircase to one side and putting in the effort and courage to climb the small uneven steps, we found ourselves on the top tier of the mosque. The view was beautiful and worth the effort.
I absolutely loved the beautifully detailed designs and colours of the tiles. And the mosque has high ceilings and was really spacious and light. We sat for a while taking in the view and soaking up the atmosphere.
At the end of our Istanbul trip we visited the Basilica Cistern, a place I was keen to see (even more since it was in the film Inferno). The cistern was built in the 6th century and the roof is supported by 336 marble columns. The space was lit up with atmospheric lighting and in modern time includes some art pieces too.
The walkways wound through the columns and artworks and it was cool and quiet. I really enjoyed seeing how well kept it all was and how the light created some stunning reflections.
We then decided to get something to eat and look at a few more shops. We were accompanied by one of the many cats we saw on the streets that are very tame and look well looked after.
I really enjoyed my trip to Istanbul, we saw lots but there was still so much to see that we didn’t have time for. The food was delicious, the people friendly and welcoming and the history unlike any other. I really hope that I can come back one day and continue to learn about this special city and experience more of what it has to offer.
Istanbul – part 2
On my visit to Istanbul I went to The Blue Mosque also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. It was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I. It was being renovated so there was lots of scaffolding and parts covered up but you could still see how beautiful the visible parts were. It was really busy but I managed to take a few snaps.
We didn’t stay too long, and after praying and looking around I moved onto the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque which is opposite The Blue Mosque. Walking across the square the time for prayer came around and it was beautiful to hear the two mosques sounding the call to prayer in turn.
The Hagia Sophia was originally built as a Greek Orthodox church 1453. It served as a mosque until 1935 and then was converted into a a museum. In 2020, the Hagia Sophia became a mosque again.
Inside there were lots of circular chandeliers to brighten up the space and on the walls were plaques with Allah, Muhammed (PBUH) and the names of his closest companions written in Arabic. It was quite beautiful to take in the embellishment and architecture of the building.
Something I found interesting was that you could still see Christian embellishments in some parts like the walkway to the exit depicting what looked like Mary and Jesus and images of angles around the ceiling dome.
We stayed a while, soaking in the atmosphere and taking pictures. Again this mosque was very busy so we didn’t stay too long. It was really nice to have spent time in both The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Both are quite beautiful and I hope to come back again one day.
Istanbul – part 1
I don’t often get to travel, in fact I have been abroad for a very long time, so when the chance arose I grabbed it. I went to Istanbul for a few days with my mum and sisters and we made the most of the time we had.
We went to Topkapi palace which was home to all the Ottoman sultans. The palace was huge it took a few hours to get around. There were several throne rooms and reading rooms, each with beautiful mosaic embellishment all around.
I loved some of the ceilings, just so beautifully and intricately detailed.
Every room was covered in tiled and mosaics and I couldn’t get enough of it. I loved these tiles where the same colours were used but they each had a different design.
There was one special place within the palace that we were all keen to visit. It was a room that held holy relics of Prophet Mohammed (SAW), of his companions and also other Prophets. We weren’t allowed to take photos, but there was Prophet Moses’ (AS) staff, Prophet David’s (AS) sword, Prophet Mohammed’s(SAW) footprint and hair strands. It was quite astonishing and moving to see belongings of Prophets that we all revered so much.
Having walked around most of the palace we decided to get some lunch. I really enjoyed Tokapi palace and it’s a place I would definitely want to come back and visit.