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.

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.

Eid celebrations

Eid-al-adha is celebrated by Muslims all around the world. It was a hot day in London this year, but my family all came together for food, gifts and games. Here’s a few photos I took to mark this year’s celebrations.

Frozen

Disney donated some free Frozen theatre tickets to my workplace, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on some. My nieces (aged 7 and 9) had been asking to go to the theatre for a while, so when I got these I decided to take them. My nieces had never been to a theatre in London before, so they were excited for the evening out.

They dressed in pretty blue and pink dresses, and with backpacks full of snacks. We made our way to the theatre, and arrived in good time. The theatre was quite a grand building with fancy reception and hallway spaces. I didn’t take many photos as I had to keep an eye on the girls.

We had quite good seats with a clear view. I could also spot lots of other girls dressed in Frozen outfits which was sweet. My nieces enjoyed the show, but by the end they were pretty tired as it was quite long and then a journey home from London.

Here’s one more photo, it’s Elsa’s Frozen dress which was really sparkly and pretty.

Ramadan Mubarak 2022/1443

Ramadan has started this weekend for Muslims around the world. I pray that this month is a beneficial one for all of us, that we are forgiven our sins, are able to re-connect with God, find peace and receive blessings. I pray that Muslims that are in hardship find ease and that we all be as charitable as possible to help those that need it wherever and whoever they are.

These pretty boxes were sent to me and my family for Ramadan. Filled with dates they are not only a staple for Ramadan, the money raised by buying these boxes go to important causes.

Ramadan Mubarak everyone. May God accept from you and us.

Ever After Garden

In Grosvenor Square in London is the Ever After garden. The garden is made up of over 25,000 illuminated roses, each rose representing a person that has been lost due to the pandemic. Roses can be dedicated to a person, the cost going to charity.

From above the roses are arranged in the shape of a butterfly.

The garden was peaceful and the display felt poignant. A beautiful way to remember those that are being missed I thought.

London Christmas lights

London seems to have really upped it game in regards to Christmas lights this year. Having seen a few photos on social media my sister and I decided to go have a look around. Here are some of what we came across and liked.

Some building had lights all over, while others had a more subtle look

There were also more simple lights that I really liked, like the stars strung across Oxford Street.

The lights look really festive and seem to bring a much needed uplift to what has been another tough year for everyone.

Light Field

I visited a light art installation by Anthony James which is currently being shown at Marble Arch. It’s called Light field. I really enjoy light art, especially if creates optical effects.

Looking into the hexagonal shapes made it look like the space went on forever. There was a similar styled longer shape too. I also liked the square boxes, all placed in a uniform way. The boxes changed colour in time to some music being played, which I found quite relaxing to watch.

The exhibition is at the Mound and is free. Worth a look I think.