Christmas with the Hoggs, Istanbul, 2016!

Christmas Day was always going to be strange – we very sadly lost my beautiful mother in January 2016, so with our first Christmas without her Martin and I were keen to look after Dad and do different things to create new, special memories. Martin took Dad to see a Besiktas football game on Christmas Eve (this was where the bomb had gone off recently) so we were apprehensive but security was ramped up with no vehicles allowed near the stadium and increased search points which made us happier! They enjoyed the game whilst I stayed at home and planned Christmas cooking times and filled Christmas crackers with personalised silliness. When did I become such a housewife?!

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Christmas Day itself was chilled out with Dad relaxing with a Christmas film, a G&T and a festive Santa jumper on whilst Martin and I cooked this huge, 7.5kg bird and felt excited to be hosting our first Christmas and it being our first Christmas as Mr & Mrs. We were also feeling very sad to be missing my amazing Mum :(. We did a big toast to her whilst sipping her favourite, champagne. This happened a few times throughout the day, both silently to ourselves and out loud.We also lit a candle ironically called ‘Mum’ throughout the Christmas period and placed this opposite my Dad at the table.

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My Mum loved Christmas, she loved heading into London to buy Christmas decorations and to look at the lights. So we were sure to treat ourselves to some new decorations this year and for this I headed straight to Liberty for the pink bauble that I know Mum would have approved of. We also marked it being the first year of us being married with a personalised decoration you’ll also see below – this was from Not On The High Street and fairly cheap and cheerful which was great!

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So going back to the Christmas dinner, with the turkey being so God dam big we desperately needed a second kitchen and luckily our neighbour Guy was away so the bird took up the whole of his oven which makes him a complete angel in disguise as without him we wouldn’t have had any of the trimmings and believe me, there were a lot of trimmings!

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All day I’d been saying let’s keep the blinds closed and not go outside, that way it would still be Christmas but post our huge Christmas dinner that only just managed to fit onto our BIG wedding plates, Dad and I (post naps) had to get outside for a little walk. As soon we stepped outside it was busy, dodging people on their way home, doing their New Year shopping but you know what, it still felt like Christmas as I was with my Dad! So it just goes to show you that as long as you have family with you, you can celebrate Christmas just about anywhere!

I’d be really interested to hear anyone else’s experiences of Christmases abroad so please comment below and get in touch and I really hope that you all had super ones :).

How the Turkish get ready for New Years Eve!

What an experience – who knew that the Turkish celebrate New Year like how we celebrate Christmas! You might be thinking fireworks (kind of banned), family get togethers and parties would be it but oh no, it’s much more than this. They get ready for the arrival of Santa actually known as ‘Noel Baba’ and get their New Year Trees out (Christmas tree to us) then decorate them with everything we would like stars, angels, Noel Baba, reindeers and the rest! Then on New Years Eve Noel Baba comes along and leaves the presents for the children and adults under the tree. Palm trees in shopping malls even get a sparkling of festiveness but that’s when you know you’re not in Blighty!

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Many of the Turkish also like to celebrate with a turkey so our fear of not being able to find a turkey in Turkey for Christmas was quickly dispensed especially when a 7.5kg turkey turned up at our door (not by itself!). This was just for Martin, my Dad and I. Do you think we ordered a big enough one?!

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It’s not quite New Years Eve yet so I will look forward to give you an update on what the night itself is like! It would be lovely hear about where you are, about any other countries traditions, and how they celebrate the beginning of the new year but in the mean time…

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