Istanbul Diaries. Day One: Covid, Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque

After the long haul of the flight with the mask over our face for 4 straight hours, We landed at Sabiha Gokcen Airport in Turkey. But yet the mask had to stay on for a little longer. I had a little breather where I dropped my mask took a deep breath and then stuck it back on, and then resumed my journey. In Turkey masks are mandatory and worn by everyone. The Airport was empty once again, and the whole arrivals process was quick…. so quick that we ended up sitting down for half hour before our luggage started coming through on the turning belts….(That has never happened before!)

We landed mid day at 5’oclock, so the evening belonged to us. With the flight being only 4 hours and the overnight stay we were not as tired as we usually are after a flight and decided straight after checking in to our hotel we will start exploring.

The Hotel.

The Great Fortune Spa and Hotel.

Right where do I start with this one….. Claiming to be a 4* hotel near SultanAhmet Square, it ticked the boxes we needed for what we were after and also fit the budget with a little extra to spend! So Bonus and Bonus….. that is until we got there…..

On arrival, we were a bit dubious as the reception area had no real reception- it was just a long….. urm reception area. Nothing else, nothing to lounge on, or anywhere to sit and have a drink, but having said that it was super clean and it was nicely decorated….

We went for a family room. The boys room was quite big, 2 large beds, and sofa seat and fitted furniture. The bathroom was sufficient. The room we had for ourselves had a double bed and there was literally no room for anything else. It was cramped to a point that we had to leave our own suitcases in the boys room. Lets be fair in saying that the internet pictures of this place are far more glamourous then the hotel itself.

Boys Room
Our Room
The bathroom
This is literally the only space I had to change into my clothes

The hotel boasts a spa- once again its not the best. There is only one changing room for male and females (OMG! I could not deal with this! we are in Turkey!) It has one tiny corner where it seems like they have tried to make an effort to do something with, the pool was tiny- enough to do 2/3 strokes and we reach the end of the pool- it felt deeper in depth than in length!! but…. yes there is a positive, the steam room and the sauna was really good, really clean and big!

That’s me posing 🤣. But swimming pool behind and 2 deck chairs. Anymore people in here and we would be overcrowded.
The sauna was quite big. Was impressed with this.

I am not going to knock the Hotel, it is a good Hotel, for the price we paid of £100 per night for a joint family room including breakfast, I cant really expect it to a haven, but this hotel definitely does not fit the 4* rank it has, its a 3* or below. If I had known it was a 3* I probably would not complain as much.

Having said that the staff from the kitchen staff, to the receptionist to the cleaners were overly eager to help us throughout. So all in all, its not a bad Hotel, it just doesn’t say what it is on the label and that’s what I am cheesed off about more that anything else.(*roll eye*) For a city break, it will do the job I want it to do.

SultanAhmet Square

The Blue Mosque

First stop- the reason why we came here- the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia which now has a small quarter available for prayers. I know there was a lot of controversy around the conversion of the Hagia Sophia from a Museum to a mosque, but I do need to advise it is just a small area that has been given for prayers. This area is accessible to anyone who wants to see inside the building and also pray.

Hagia Sophia

The beauty of this is we can go inside without having to pay, so if you really did want to see the construct without the full museum tour- this is perfect.

Turkey is very strict in its wearing of the mask- Everyone wears a mask- its a norm! if I did put my mask down for a little while- you can be sure that someone will tap you on the shoulder and advise you to put it back on politely. This was actually really nice- and shows that people have a love for themselves and others and also a love for their country by adhering to the rules.

We tried to get into the Blue Mosque but were told it was closed due to renovation, and not due to open for maybe a couple of years….. so we decided to take a walk around. We ended up at the Terrace of the Seven Hills Hotel to have a breath-taking look at both the Blue Mosque and Sophia Hagia from what is the tallest building in Istanbul (Apparently although after this we learnt that a lot of hotels say the same thing, we are tourists, we believe everything people tell us!)

Hagia Sophia from the Top.
View of the Blue Mosque from The Seven Hills Hotel.

My brother’s family who arrived to Istanbul a week earlier, were spending the last day and so we decided to join them.

We met up with the family at The Panoramic Istanbul Roof Terrace- apparently the highest building in Istanbul which boasts the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. (**rolls eye. where have we heard this before?**). It truly was breath taking I wont deny that, but yet the food was not quite to our requirements. It was expensive (for Turkey!) but also just bland. This is definitely a place I ticked off and not going back or recommending to anyone. If you want, just go see the views- but make sure you eat elsewhere!

Tea with a view from The Panoramic Roof Terace

We were lucky in that we got to listen to the Adhaan (The call to prayer) from here… from both the Mosques. Truly a beautiful experience. It was our first day, we did not want to do too much, so we wined and dined (somewhat with bland food) and then we ended up with Shisha at night (which was just as awful). But the beauty was I caught up with my sister in law.

Night Cap with Babs

Before the end of the day, we walked down the beautiful streets of Sultan Ahmet square. The perfect end to our half day in Istanbul….

More to come on Istanbul. Stay tuned

Istanbul Day Two: can be found here

Love and Regards


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My Planner/Diary for 2020

So how did I choose my planner, it was different thats for sure. Yes. I know its just a planner. But that’s the point. It’s My planner, My time keeper and Diary for the whole year, and I need to get it right.

So after deciding on the Helloday Planner- as I have been using that 4 years in a row, and I felt disloyal if I went with another diary, I decided to wait until they have a promotional offer as every penny can make a difference.


My builder (and a very close family friend) was in the house and whilst fixing my lights he called out to me-

“Bhabhie, bhabhie…. I know what your favourite color is!… It’s red heneh?!” ( bhabhie means sister in law, and heneh means heneh!- he’s an Indian man- just go with it)

I was shocked, and blushing, and impressed, “yes, yes, it is- how did you know?”

His face dropped- he looked at me as though I had insulted him, ” GREY” he shouted “grey, grey is your favourite color, everything in this house is grey. Are you going to add colour in anywhere??- im tired of grey”

It was time for my face to drop. He is so right, my whole house is grey, every room is grey, from my living room, to my bedroom, or the boys room. It’s Grey…. And I claim red is my favourite colour. Ofcourse he thinks Im mad.

and then it hits me….. Evan my current diary is grey…. and so is the next one I want to buy! so Cancel, Cancel, Cancel….. and thats when I decided on the Amelia Lane Paper Diary, and I opted for the ‘Peony’ because theres no grey in it- it has pops of pink and reds! and its got peonies on it…….wha?? flowers you say? What grey? cant hear you!

and am I happy?? OH YES!

And here it is, its a beauty.

I wouldnt say that I was dissapointed with the unveiling part of the diary, but I would say that Hello Day Planner put alot more effort in the initial unveiling. (and I did miss that) but thats not to say what I have isnt good. I Do love it.

I love the look of it, especially the Golden rim, it gives it a beautiful look, and not just a diary look, but THE Diary look.

It has the year to view, month to view, and the week to view.

Vision board for the year to come to put down your resolutions

It has a monthly overview to track your progress over the year.

Before the start of the month for a full double page is dedicated to goals, habit trackers, income bills,expenses and savings (my favourite page!!)

Colorful stickers are provided for those extra special days. (I loved doing this. None of the Hello Day planners have this )

At the end of the Diary- a weekly health chart is provided and a full page for a bucket list (this isnt going to be enough for me. I need atleast two)

Gift buying list and a page dedicated to books and movies and right at the end along with the notes and the ideas a sleeve pocket is enclosed for flyaway papers.

I really dont think I can ask for any more in a diary

The planner can be found at

And now Im going to start filling my diary in.

Love and regards


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Tooth Update

So back to my tooth. I’m thinking of adding a tab on my contents just for my tooth journey, as it’s proving to be a long ride.

It’s been 3 weeks and I’ve not suffered any pain at all, since the tooth was filled in from the previous appointment of the failed root canal.

From the two options I decided on the extraction. Once its gone at least I know the pain will never come back. With the Root Canal, there’s no guarantee that it’ll solve the problem.

I did have anxiety- not over the procedure because I knew I was going to a specialist, I knew the procedure will probably be the easiest I’ve ever had. I had anxiety because I knew would be in pain after, I was worried about how long the pain would last, and whether it would get infected or not.

I was actually quite pleased to be going to a specialist, as I knew the procedure would take 20 minutes maximum and the tooth would be out, rather than the one and a half hour it took at my last appointment.

Before I went in, I spoke to a girl sitting outside who was having 3 tooth taken out, and she had been here previously and although uncomfortable she was quite upbeat about it. That put me at ease. I was only having one taken out.

Once inside, I made sure I asked the dentist to make sure it was the right anaesthetic, and if my dentist had made him aware of my situation. He advised me he would give me the adrenaline and yes, he was made aware, and that was why she had sent me to him.

I did ask him again, that the adrenaline makes my bp go low and I end up collapsing and vomiting. He assured me that he was using the right one.

Should I ask you to guess what happened?

As soon as he put the first one in, my heart started palpitating. He assured me it was all normal, and it should take 2/3 minutes before it slows back down. He then put another 2 in, at the front and the side of my tooth.

Back at reception, I waited for the adrenaline to kick in and numb my tooth. And then….. It all started…

The room started spinning, I started spinning, I remember someone asking if i was ok, I said ‘no’. The floor beneath me was going further and further down, I was falling, my body started shaking. I heard them say ‘take her to the back’ I remember trying to get up, but the floor kept disappearing beneath me, I kept falling, I knew I was being dragged to a room in the back, I could feel eyes all over me.

At the back they lay me down, my body was shaking furiously, they asked if I’m cold. I was too hot. I said “hot, too hot”, I removed my jumper, my scarf. One of the ladies got me a cold wet towel and put on my forehead, it felt wonderful. I told her, she started to put over my eyes and my face, my body was still shaking.

They told me to open my eyes, I couldn’t do it, the ceiling was moving, and then I felt the bile in my throat, and the next minute I threw up…. All over the place. Like everywhere. Spluttered. It was awful. It felt like pregnancy and morning sickness all over again.

Do you want me to carry on? Because it doesn’t get better.

The end of it, well my tooth is still in my mouth, but how long before it starts hurting- we don’t know.

I do remember one of the ladies saying that I should be referred to the hospital, and why haven’t I been referred if this happens all the time. I’m really hoping for this.

I don’t remember much of what the dentist said, its all a blur, but there were talks of doctors, and waiting, and letters, and hospitals and operation.

I’ll have to call in and find out further on Monday.

This tooth situation really troubles me, its so horrible to have all eyes on you. I hate being helpless, I hate that people have to clean up after me, I hate that they have to look after me. I hate that my husband sees me in this state.

The hubby took a very tearful and disorientated me home, and I slept until the adrenline wore off, which was roughly 4 hours. Ive got up now, still feel a bit dizzy, but I’m talking and walking, and writing this. May need a couple more hours before I’m back to normal, and get through this trauma again.

There has to be another way. I can’t go through this again. And I can’t expect others to go through this also.

I Just needed a vent.

Remember me in your prayers

I’ll keep you all updated

Love and regards


The Perfect Planner

It’s that time of year, where I start looking for diaries……I know I know. We have phones- and they are capable of holding all our information, like birthdays and appointments, but it’s just not the same for me. I need the feel of pen and paper, I like opening pages and looking in. And more importantly I love my diary to have a bit of character.

I’ve actually been searching for over a month now, and though the internet has so many options, I still haven’t found the perfect one. Sometimes when we are given more options, it makes us more fussy.

I’ll share what I have been using last couple of years.

I love photos, I love taking photos, whether that be of myself, my family, or scenic. And I love diaries, so what better combination. I made these diaries online on printerpix. It takes a bit of time, but it’s so nice to cherish, and it’s lovely to see pictures and memories. It’s a weekly diary and you can add a picture on for every week. Do keep 52 pictures ready.

Initially this was perfect for me, when I was working at BT Openreach. Enough to put in birthdays, appointments, anniversaries, training dates, school holidays etc, but as soon as my baking kicked off full time, I was running out of space. I needed more, and I wanted more of a professional look.

Then I found these babies

The Hello Day Planners. I’m not kidding when I say I fell in love with them. I’ve used them 4 years in a row as I’ve never been able to find anything better. They are so stylish and beautiful. And they are presented so well…. Have a look on YouTube for the unveiling. They come in gorgeous boxes, wrapped in tissue paper, with special cards. Honestly it’s like owning a designer bag. I look so forward to opening it up. I’ve also done unveiling videos in my insta stories. ( I know so sad) but …. Take my word for it …. Look on YouTube.. … ‘Hello Day planner unveiling’ . I guarantee you’ll put it in your Christmas wish list.

But it’s not just the packaging that enticed me, the packaging was a bonus as when I purchased my first one (after alot of ‘oh I don’t know if I should’ as at £46 it’s not exactly cheap- as the hubby says- the pound shop have loads of diaries!) It’s the whole product and what it offers.

With business now booming I needed a day to day planner, and I also need it to offer me more than just dates, and this planner does exactly that:

It’s a day a page- with a remainder to be grateful every morning, as well as a water and exercise plan. A quote of the day to keep you going, and a full page dedicated to what you need to do for the day.
Every month has its own beautiful plastic tab, and did you see the gold rims? Just how beautiful are they?
Before you start- you can put your yearly goals in, and it also allows you to check your progress every quarter.
My favourite page. Budgeting. Keep a track of your going ins and your going outs.
Every month has a full 2 page month at a glance page where you can note down important things briefly.
Also every month starts off with a goal planning page, put down your goals, things to do, and then finishes off with a end of month reflection.
Before the start of the week a page is dedicated to a glance of the full week.
Each day to day page has a blank space which I used to draw my cakes. Perfect for me to be able to picture it all

And then at the front and back there are empty pages just to use for own pleasure- I used these to put down my pricing for events and cakes. And the standard the year at a glance and important Telephone numbers.

I can’t think of anything else I would need in my planner.

So why Am I searching?

Well I no longer have my business and my diary looks like this now. Loads of blanks.

As much as I love my diary it’s too big and empty for me now. I need to switch back to weekly, yet the photo ones do not do it for me anymore

I want the Hello day qualities in a weekly planner.,and yes Hello Day do offer them. But only in 2 designs, (which I’m not keen on) and they lack the beauty the big ones have.

So I’m searching frantically for the perfect diary. One thing I do love is ‘Google’. As soon as it picks up what you are after- it sends you an immense amount of links, and I have found quite a few companies that do very similer planners to Hello Day. But I feel guilty about getting it (how is that Evan possible!) But I really do. I’m passionate about my diary. It’s my key accessory. I rave to anyone I know about my diary- you would think I work for Helloday (if they are jobs available- do let me know).

From the suggestions by Google I have 4 diaries on my mind.

1. Helloday Planner

Always number one, but I also have alot of guilt. £36.00. Have a look at their collection here :

2. BusyB

The price is a bonus, it has the full monthly page, weekly dates, budget planning. £15.99 . Find the BusyB collection here

3. Daily Greatness

I’m really leaning towards this. Love the leather pouch, it has so much going on inside, and very colourful. Abit on the dearer side but I do use my diaries throughout the year- so will be worth it. £89.00. Look at the collection here

4. Amelia Lane

Looks so much like the Helloday but more colourful. Has the yearly, weekly and monthly break downs inside. Also budget planning. Same price as hello Day. £36.00. look at the collection here

And now I’m going to ignore all other suggestions by Google, and decide on one from the above, because I seriously cannot be adding more to my list.

Let’s see which one I end up going for.

Love and regards


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