Goodbye 2022

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.

Cold Snap

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.

Southend trip

It’s been incredibly and unusually hot this summer so with a week off work I decided to take a trip down to the coast, the nearest being Southend on Sea. It was a humid and overcast day but I decided to make the most of my time. Here are a few pictures I took.

I walked along the longest pleasure pier in the world which is always a must for me. I enjoyed the stronger breeze as I reached the end which was a bonus. Walking back to shore I then walked along the beach and enjoyed the cold water, helping me to cool down.

There was some cool artwork around, I loved how they made the bollards next to the roads more creative and colourful.

I think my favourite were these umbrellas hanging inside the nearby shopping mall

I had a relaxing and cool visit and as the sun became lower in the sky I made my way home.

Cherry harvest

Our neighbours have a cherry tree in their garden and this year it grew a huge amount of cherries. Our neighbours were generous enough to pick and share some, but encouraged us to pick all the cherries we wanted from the side of the tree that was hanging over our garden. With my mum and niece’s help I climbed up the tree and picked all that I could reach, with cherry juice running down my arm. Here’s some of what we picked, with about three times as much being shared with other family members and neighbours.

Chelsea in Bloom 2022

The Chelsea Flower show takes place in London every year, showcasing beautiful gardens. To coincide with the event, businesses in the borough of Chelsea and Kensington hold an alternative floral art show called Chelsea in Bloom. Shopfronts are decorated with pretty displays and this year’s theme was the ‘British Icons’, to celebrate all things British and the Platinum Jubilee. My sister and I went to have a look at what creative designs would be on display.

There were so many displays but here are some I liked the best. Some displays were truly creative, like this Spitfire one, and other’s really detailed like the emblem with the horse and lion.

I really liked the display outside the Royal mail, Postmen on ladders and a collection of the iconic red postboxes. And the biscuit Buckingham Palace was artistic.

One of my favourites was this Queen’s head outline in different colours, I thought it was simple but really pretty.

I thought the bus was iconic too, and I really liked this floral tunnel with top hats, pocket watches, teacups and cards. It was super busy so only managed to get a couple of photos.

These cakes on a giant cake stand was another of my favourites, I thought it was really creative and very British.

Here are some more icons, The Beatles and Elton John, and representing fashion, Vivian Westwood. I thought the upside down table, chairs and cakes was cool.

I really liked the giant 50p coin, simple and fun. Paddington bear made of flowers was lovely too.

Another of my favourites was the Mini Cooper on show. It was quite a big display with flower hearts surrounding it.

These are only some of the displays we saw, there were many more with floral archways and window displays. It was really nice to go and see these imaginative displays, especially after it was cancelled for the last couple of years. The winners have been announced on the website.

Platinum Jubilee

A bit late posting this but Queen Elizabeth celebrated 70 years on the throne this year. There were celebrations around the country for the Platinum Jubilee. I’m not a huge fan of the Royals but I think you have to respect the Queen for doing 70 years in her duty. Here are some of the decorations that I saw on my visit to London and around my local town.

I like the fridge with the Union Jack print and the throne and crown display, and I thought the giant party popper was fun.

Pall Mall had flags all the way down and the creative streetart was done in my local town centre.

There were lots of street parties and picnics in the park to celebrate, and I’m sure everyone enjoyed the extra days off work too.