New Years Eve 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey

I was so excited to write this post with New Years being such a special celebration for the Turkish and for them to be truly deserving a lovely time after the terror they have faced throughout 2016. I felt sure that they were looking forward to a new and brighter year just like we were too and they should have had this.


The night started off quietly, we were off to our friend’s house party in this lovely bohemian neighbourhood called Cihangir. With the party not kicking off until 10pm, we had plans to have a nice dinner out but settled for ordering pide (Turkish pizza!) as quite frankly, Martin was in a full on gaming session and I was taking ages getting ready (typical!). It was a lovely, chilled out dinner where we could do a bit of reflecting on our past year and get ready to welcome in 2017.


We left ours at 10pm and headed to the Metro, it was quiet. We proceeded to Taksim which is where there are normally lots of people and sometimes trouble. So we were feeling a bit apprehensive, but when we arrived we had a full body and bag search, looked around and it was so quiet. People really were just passing through, making their way to celebrations but there weren’t very many people doing this. It had an eerie feel and very much felt like Istanbul’s soul had perhaps tucked itself in bed for the night. It was sad to see but we were happy to see that at least some people were smiling and heading out to their celebrations.

We arrived at our friends and had a lovely time bringing in the new year surrounded by many amazing friends. It was a poignant time for us thinking about how ill my mum had been this time last year and how we’d spent last year crying into the new year at the thought of a bleak future for my mum. Overall though, I was in good spirits and looking forward to a new year filled with exciting and positive times for our family, friends and hopefully Turkey and here’s the moment the clock hit 12am!

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When we found out about the attack at Reina nightclub we really weren’t sure what had happened with ideas involving a rich kid going crazy and opening fire, and we were all wondering if it wasn’t this, would there be attacks anywhere else… it was scary. Some people at the party worked for news teams and quickly darted off when the news broke. We hung around for a while but decided to make tracks at about 2.30am. We could’t get a taxi, they all kept telling us our road was closed (we live off of one of the main roads though Istanbul, it wasn’t closed!) they just wanted bigger fares, so we walked all the way home and got pretty soaked. We walked through some dodgy areas and didn’t feel very  safe at all but it was the only way and we got home fine. There was a lot of police presence too so that made us feel a little better, (the crazy Turkish taxi drivers did not, with several near miss accidents we thought we were going to witness!)


We woke up today (New Year’s Day) full of sadness for the victims of this most recent attack. All young innocent people who just wanted to celebrate the turn of the new year. They deserved this, their family and friends of friends deserved this, everyone deserved this but now the country starts the new year so grimly. New Year really should be a positive and joyful time when you reflect on the past and look forward to turning the next page of your book creating new adventures. To have just been hit by a fresh bout of terror is just horrible for Turkey and our thoughts really are with our beautiful country that we call home but we know that they will keep fighting and we are so proud of them and their courage.

Today we will be glued to updates in the news, wishing Happy New Year to all of our amazing family and friends and be thankful for everything we have. I also just want to say  Happy New Year to everyone reading this and please make sure that your family and friends all know how much you love them.

Look forward to writing a more positive blog on this amazing country soon. Take care and hope you’ve all had lovely New Years Eves and Days.

Caro x


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!


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!


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?!


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…