Now, I don’t want this post to be misleading. This isn’t about everyone’s favourite bird of choice for Christmas dinner. If you’re after those, you’re in the wrong place. No, this is an extension of our Celebrity Cruise series, and also a round up of a really fun blogger event we were delighted to have been invited to.
After a rather turbulent time when we arrived in Istanbul for our Celebrity Cruise, namely, being told the cruise had been cancelled, there was no part of us that wanted to head out and explore the city. We wanted dinner and sleep after the long day travelling.
However, that changed en route to the ship, when Istanbul’s beauty revealed itself in front of our eyes. It looked absolute fabulous and nothing like we expected, so when Thomas Cook Airlines invited us to their 5SensesofTurkey event at Paradise by Way of Kensal Green, how could we say no?
Thomas Cook Airlines are different to Thomas Cook the travel agent, although they’re part of the same stable. The airline had helped to bring holidaymakers home from Tunisia last month after the dreadful terror attack which saw British holidaymakers targeted, which highlights their commitment to customers.
Turkey’s recent troubles have been well documented, with the FCO’s advice being updated this week after an attack near the Syrian border, but Dalaman, Bodrum, Antalya and Izmir remains jewels in Turkey’s giblets. And Turkish Delight, but we all know that.
Other than Turkish Delight (which was handily included in our goodie bags but may have been eaten on the train home) we ran through Turkeys charms, using our five senses, and we’ve settled on where we’d love to explore next. Take a guess and which city we’re dreaming of…
What better way to try out this sense than with cocktails? Turkish Delight and Antalyan Dream were the two on offer, but the clear winner was the Turkish Delight Martini, made with vanilla vodka and Rose Water. Is there a better combination in life? (The answer is no.) This was our favourite cocktail of the night. In fairness, Antalyan Dream could not be a more apt name, given these were dreamy and we’d love to be in Antalya.
Turkey is also a huge producer of wine. The Syrah, and the Okuzgozu and Kalecik Karasi were particularly delightful.
Sadly we arrived a bit too late for the canapes, however they looked different. Perhaps this should have been in the sight section…
Turkey is very well-renowned for its scrubs and Turkish baths, with a culture based on social sweating in very hot rooms. So we decided to sink ourselves into a Rose and Coffee scrub, thanks to Naz and her mum from Midas Touch Crafts, who helped us create our goodies. We could make our own mix depending on preference, and while we were all about buffed bodies, other preferred plump lips infused with Vitamin E and sugars.
Disappointed no massages were on offer, but the scrubs are an excellent alternative.
Traditional Turkish music set the ambience for the evening. Two members of the Ahenkli team provided the backdrop with Turkish instrumental music all night. Even in a room full of bloggers chattier than a cat watching a pigeon, it was very easy to get lost in their music. You could almost sense you were walking down the backstreets of Antalya chatting to locals the entire evening.
Speaking of chatting, it was great to meet some rather amazing bloggers, the lovely Lyndsay, Milli, Katy, Shaun and Erica took the night from good to great!
A very fun part of the night as bloggers and Thomas Cook execs dressed the part with hats, scarves and all manner of Turkish garb. A part of the evening where, not only did I don a rather fetching Fez, I realised I actually suit one. Make your own mind up…
One of Turkey’s signatures. Put together the smell of food, drink and some of Turkey’s finest scents, and you’re there.
The apothecary had every smell you could imagine should you find yourself meandering through a grand bazaar. Myrrh and Rose Water are two staples of Turkish essential oils, the latter a particular favourite for centuries and used for fragrances and food.
The table also included Cardamom, the world’s third most expensive spice. Everyone knows that Saffron is pretty much worth its weight in gold, but Cardamom, combined with all of the other scents, sort of clung around the nostrils creating a beautiful combination that made the pub in north London feel like you were 2,163 miles away in Antalya.
Turkey is seen as turbulent in some places. But no matter where you head in the world, there’s nothing like the place and we’ve got it on our return list. Check the FCO before you go, choose a stunning destination, and be brave – whether it’s visiting a bazaar, getting down and very dirty in a Turkish Bath with the locals, or trying food you’re not quite sure how to pronounce or what it’s even made of.
Thomas Cook Airlines run flights from Manchester to Izmir, Dalaman, Bodrum and Antalya frequently, so there’s no reason not to visit.
After all, it makes sense…
By David, aka The Boy