Our holiday to Turkey. Recommendations, tips, & what we’ve learnt for next time.. ðŸ’›

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How incredibly morbid that I am beginning to write this post on Tuesday afternoon, but we don’t leave our hotel and fly back to the UK until Thursday afternoon. However, by the time this post gets published, it will more than likely be after our holiday has ended.

I’m going to start by saying, although I am super sad our holiday is almost over, and we’ll soon be back to reality.. together as a couple we do feel that two weeks was the perfect amount of time to be out here. Last year we came to Turkey with my mum, and that was just for a week.. I remember the day we checked out of the hotel I was actually crying because I didn’t want to leave! 7 days was no where near enough time to fully enjoy it, & get comfortable enough to really enjoy your holiday. 10 days would have worked, but two weeks really has felt like a proper holiday. We’re relaxed, we’re suuuuuper brown and we are ready to get back home, to our comforts, to our favourite foods, to our darling little Gracie who has probably forgotten who the hell we are, who we are never going to leave ever again, who may even be grieving for us whilst we’ve been away, god only knows, but what I do know is, we’re buying her sooooo many treats once we’re home! I’m looking forward to getting back to our bed, because I mean as nice as this one in our hotel has been, I need to book a taxi every night if I want to meet Tazmyn in the middle, it’s that big. I’m looking forward to binge watching love island in bed with dominos pizza, and going out for a biiiiiiig Sunday dinner before we get back into healthy eating. We had a garden furniture set delivered to our house whilst we’ve been on holiday, so I’m excited to be able to sit out in the garden and eat breakfast and drink coffee & even do the laundry! God I really am old.

Anyways..

This entire blog is written from both Tazmyn & I, as I feel like for people reading this, it’s always better to get the perspective from both parties who have been on holiday, as we’ve both experienced everything together & may have different views on certain things etc. I hope this post is helpful to anyone who may or may not be thinking about holidaying in Turkey, I know a lot of people have reached out to me recently and asked me a lot of questions regarding our holiday, where we stayed etc.. so with any luck, you’ll find everything in this post, if not, please message me and I’ll try my best to answer any questions you have! 💗💗💗

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Where did we stay?!

So we stayed at the Side La Grande Hotel & Spa in the area of Side, Antalya in Turkey. This resort is a 5* hotel & is all inclusive.

Why did we choose this hotel?

Last year we came to this hotel in Turkey with my mum, & we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday, we felt 7 days just simply wasn’t long enough & because how comfortable we felt in this particular resort, we decided to come back this year, just the two of us.

Who did we book our holiday through & would we recommend them?

I find this question always a really helpful one, especially when I’m meeting new people and asking them who they booked through. Last year we booked through travel republic & I must say, we couldn’t fault them. They were based in the UK, whenever I needed to phone them up with a query, they were always there on the other end of the phone to help me. This year, we found an amazing deal through a company called Alpha Rooms to decided to book through them. Our holiday this year was paid for mainly using compensation from Thomas Cook after our horrendous ordeal with them on our return flight last year – but that’s for another blog post! 😭 Alpha Rooms though, although the deal we found was an absolute bargain, I did soon realise that conversing with them via the phone was always very tricky. Their customer service teams are based in India, which of course I was unaware of at the time of booking, so whenever I had to ring them, I’d always find the language barrier to be a real issue & the phone calls would just be super difficult. I tend to find UK based companies provide me with more reassurance in the instance of anything going wrong, where as having a travel company quite literally the other side of the globe, is quite daunting. That being said, they helped where they could. Once we landed in Antalya airport, it took us a little while to find our shuttle transfer service, as it wasn’t as clearly sign posted like the travel republic one was last year. Apart from that though, we had no problems using Alpha Rooms & would most probably recommend them, once you’re aware that they aren’t actually UK based.

Who did we fly with?

We flew with Thomas Cook, most flights into Turkey are with Thomas Cook. They’re actually not as bad as a lot of people make out. We had no delays flying out to Turkey this year, the onboard flight attendants were polite and helpful, they kept you informed throughout the flight, which I found really good as I actually hate flying so to be kept in the loop was definitely a bonus. Flight time always gives you a proximity of 4 hours and 30 minutes, however both times we’ve been to Turkey the flights have been 3 hours and 45 minutes. Our journey home luckily involved no delays which was a serious bonus! Everything went smoothly.

How long did we go on holiday for?

Two weeks.

What was the weather like?

So we flew out on June 13th, and came back on the 27th. Every day of our holiday it was at least 30 degrees, I think the highest it went up to was 36 degrees, which is hottttt. I personally love the heat and I could be out in it 24/7 but of course if you’re travelling with small children, babies or elderly people, the heat may be something you will need to be mindful of.

Best parts of the hotel?

The rooms are stunning, the actual interior inside the hotel is very grand looking & modern, the swimming pools are lovely, so are the sunbeds. The showers are also brilliant!

Worst parts of the hotel?

Repetitive food, but that’s the same with all inclusive hotels. The language barrier between the staff and guests. We found our particular hotel catered more for the Germans and Russians rather than the English, which was a let down at times. The German & Russian people would often be very rude, pushing in the queue in the restaurant, never saying please or thank you, expecting that they should get everything because they’re somehow superior, when actually, we’ve all paid the same amount of money to be here so we all have exactly the same rights as they do.

What’s there to do in the area & would we recommend staying here?

The area of Side is lovely. Directly outside of our hotel on the other side of the road is a big shopping mall which has only opened up a few months ago so it’s brand new. All the shops inside are lovely too, there’s jewellery shops, clothes shops, shoe shops, beauty salons, hairdressers & souvenir shops. There’s even a McDonald’s! If you walk for a little while you’ll find lots of bars and restaurants in Side. We went to a place called “Crazy” which was a shisha bar, restaurant and lounge which we absolutely loved. They did the best chicken fajitas and strawberry daiqiri’s if you like cocktails! Another great place is TimeOut, also very close to the shopping mall in Side, here I had a fillet steak which was amazing. As well as the bars, shops & restaurants, you of course have markets and people on the street trying to sell you just about anything and everything. What I didn’t particularly like was that whenever you walk down the street, some Middle Aged man who has never heard of antiperspirant would call you “lady” or “sweetie” or even try to impersonate your English accent in attempts to get you into their shop to buy something. When you’d say no, they would try to chase you down the street & to me that is super intrusive and borderline stalker alert so I’d much rather stick to the shopping mall or a cocktail lounge. There’s lots of day trips you can do too of course, a lot of the day trips are boat rides, there’s dolphin boat trips, a trip to see the markets, all kinds of different trips. Someone even told us about a safari trip you could do which sounded fun. All of these trips are super cheap so worth doing if you can, we decided not to do any of them and instead just do something ourselves, at our own pace and just us. We visited Side old town, which is full of so much character and history. Beautiful shops, bars & restaurants and a lovely marina too where you’ll see lots of boats all on the harbour. We had cocktails at Calypso beach bar which we would highly recommend. Very expensive, but perfect for drinks on the water.

Did we make any friends?

Despite the hotel being more catered for the Germans and Russians, we did make some lovely friends over the course of two weeks, all of whom have since added us on Facebook & we can’t wait to keep in touch with everyone.

Would we return?

To Turkey.. absolutely yes. To the same hotel? No, we’ve stayed twice now, it’s kinda just normal to want to experience different parts of Turkey, it’s a beautiful country with so much to see.

What have we learnt from this holiday that may help us with future holidays?

Get yourself a super organised wife who plans everythinggggg down to the very last detail. She’s in charge of all holiday & travel documents, so be prepared best you can. Get yourself a little travel document file. They’re super handy. Buy some scales for your suitcases because I was over the limit. The Turkish prefer you to pay in Euro, but it works out slightly cheaper if you pay in Turkish Lira. Read tripadvisor reviews as much as you can, but also don’t let them influence you to the point of not being able to form your own opinion. If you’re a female, don’t think that will give you a free pass with stop and search at security in Turkish airports. I’m female and they seem to love picking me out to search me. The passport control seems to love being difficult as well. 7 days isn’t enough. Two weeks may be too long for some people, not for me. All inclusive hotels are repetitive. Take more photos than you plan on doing.. you’ll be thankful you did one day. Keep your phone on airplane mode the entire time. Learn to speak German. Daytime flights are better than night time flights. Stay hydrated.

What’s it like to be home?

It feels soooooo good to be home. We arrived home at around 8pm last night, we were so tired. My mum had pre-made us a chorizo pasta bake & filled the fridge and cupboards for us. We ate & literally went to be (after squeezing Gracie to death!) This morning we’re currently drinking coffee & eating pain au chocolat, before we pluck up the energy to unpack our suitcases, put multiple loads of laundry in, & eventually get round to binge watching love island! 💗

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I really hope you enjoyed this post, don’t forget if there’s anything I’ve missed out or anything you’d like to know, just drop me a message & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Lots and lots of love,

The Chalkes’ x

✨ TWITTER && INSTA ✨

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Day Thirteen.

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Urghhh the fact we only have tomorrow left in this hotel makes me a little bit sad. This morning started off at 5am.. yes I got the sunbeds I wanted, of course I did. We had breakfast, decided to give the cheese toasties a go & they were actually quite nice. Watermelon and pancakes too of course. We quite literally spent the entire day lounging by the pool & swimming. It’s been super relaxing though.

This evening my darling wife surprised me with holiday gifts 💕 these BEAUTIFUL bracelets. I’m just in love with them. A little Tiffany diamond heart & a Michael Kors lock and key. She’s the most thoughtful person on the planet & makes me feel so special.

Tazmyn, I love you with every little piece of me, and my heart is yours always.

🔐💗Lots of love,

Sinéad x

Night Twelve ✨

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Hi darlings! Hope you’re all well, I was meant to blog last night but I took Tazmyn out for cocktails & dinner again so we ended up getting back to our hotel quite late. Anyways, it’s 4:50am Turkish time, guess who was crazy enough to already get their sunbeds? 🙋🏻‍♀️ Do you know what? People might think I’m super weird to wake up at dumb times on holiday to make sure I’ve got the best sunbeds in the hotel, but actually.. I’m super super brown, I don’t think I’ve ever been this tanned on a holiday before. There’s some people in this hotel who are still as pasty now as they were when they first arrived, & that’s partly down to the fact they’ve woken up at midday and haven’t got any sunbeds. No tar, we looked forward to this holiday all year, we paid just as much as anyone else so yeah, I’ll have the sunbeds closest to the steps around the main pool because that’s where the sun stays all day long, and that’s where we’ve been every single day for almost two weeks, Amen.

Thought I’d do a little run down of our day yesterday: 💗✨

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4:20am – Sinéad’s alarm goes off.. go down to get the sunbeds, even with my eyes barely open.

7:45am – Tazmyns alarm goes off.

8:15am – Breakfast

9am – Coffee at sunbeds

10am – Went up to the lobby to say goodbye to our gorgeous friends Marion & Marjory who left to go home yesterday.

11am – Sunbathing & swimming12:30 – Main restaurant opens for lunch, I usually bring a plate of watermelon out to the sunbeds for us to share.

More sunbathing.

2pm – The pool bar opens for pizza, burgers and chips. We always get pizza! 🍕🍕🍕

Lots of swimming.

4pm – Fresh donuts & pancakes.

4:30pm – I got my hair washed & a Dutch braid put in yesterday at our hotels salon.. it only cost me €2 so such a bargain!

Back to the room for showers & to get ready. We shower together 😍 holiday showers together are just the best.

7pm – Head down to the lobby for a drink.

Go for dinner & cocktails! 🍹🍹🍹After our meal last night the owner of the restaurant gave us a little shot each.. oh my god it was the strongest thing ever! I could have sworn it was tequila!! I could feel it at the back of my throat all night! 🤣😭🤦🏻‍♀️

Can’t actually remember what time we eventually went to bed last night.

I think I’m going to do a full blog post about our overall holiday, stuff we’d recommend, things we’d stay away from, what we’d do again and what we might change in future holidays.. but for now, this has honestly been the best holiday ever. Turkey has our hearts forever 🔐💓

Right, my darling bubs is almost ready for breakfast (it’s now gone 8, I went back to sleep half way through writing this blog!) 🤦🏻‍♀️ & I’m desperate for a coffee! ☕️

Lots of love,

The Chalkes’ x x x x

✨ TWITTER && INSTA ✨

How was your Sunday?

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Ours has been HOT! 32 degrees here today, everyone was finding it really really hot and unbearable, except me. I’m a little sun baby, I could be out in it from morning to night. Plus we have swimming pools, an all inclusive bar, what more could you ask for?!

This morning we had a late breakfast, followed by our Turkish bath at the hotels spa! It was amaaaaaaazing. We did the same one last year when we were here with my mum, so we already knew it would be good.. but today’s was better than I ever remembered! First we were shown into a huge sauna, which was HOT. We were in there for about 15 minutes, then the two Turkish massage ladies came and got us, and took us to the Hamam, which for those that don’t know, is a form of cleansing the body. In our hotel, the hamam consisted of a huge marble table in the middle of the room, where Tazmyn and I both were told to lie on, the two ladies then literally chucked buckets of warm water all over our bodies.. after this, they each exfoliated our entire bodies with an exfoliating glove.. this can be quite painful if you’ve got sunburn, but luckily we don’t and really enjoyed it! After the scrub, they go ahead and cover your body with a soapy type of foam, it smells amazing and is super soft on your skin. Once this is on, they give you a full body massage which was just unreal. So relaxing. I could have easily fallen asleep. After the massage, you’re told to turn over on this marble table thing onto your other side so that they can repeat the steps. Once all done, they sit you up and rinse you off with warm water.. wrap you up in towels, and take you into a relaxation room where there’s big spongey beds for you to lay on.. the lighting is really dark and there’s music playing.. they apply a face mask on for you & give you a cup of herbal tea and just leave you there to relax for about 10 minutes. At this point we were so relaxed it was unreal. Our skin was soooo soft. After you’ve had your tea, they take you off into another room so you can wash your face mask off and that’s the end of the treatment. The whole thing took about an hour and we only paid €20 which is actually super cheap.. however there are even cheaper places than that in Turkey if you go outside of your hotel, we just couldn’t be bothered & we feel super comfortable at the spa in our hotel having obviously been here before.This evening I took Tazmyn out for cocktails.. she had strawberry mojito’s & I had strawberry daiquiri’s! Best daiquiri I’ve ever had! 🍹💗On our way back to the hotel we stopped off at Thai roll ice. If you haven’t heard of it, watch it on YouTube! We’ve been wanting to try it for ages and it was so good. We chose 3 fillings, strawberries, Nutella and hundreds & thousands! 🍧💕Back in our hotel room now, watching the entertainment from our balcony. Having a pool view has its perks, means we don’t actually need to be at the entertainment to watch it! Looks like I’ll be setting my alarm for silly o’clock again tomorrow morning if I want the perfect sunbeds.

Lots and lots of love,

The Chalkes’ x

4am Update 💥

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* Attention!!! Explicit content to follow, please look away now if easily offended *

4:46am am Turkish time & guess who just got the best sunbeds in the hotel?! 🤔🤷🏻‍♀️🙂 Firstly, I’d like to thank my alarm on my phone.. for some reason this morning it sounded louder than ever before. Secondly I’d like to thank my hair, for not going like a complete frizz bomb this morning meaning I’d have to spend at least 2-5 minutes sorting it out, possibly delaying me further. & Finally, I’d like to thank my mum, for producing a child that is as determined as I am. When I want something, nothing will stand in my way. I know you had the time of your life making me.

So here we are, back in the room, back in bed, towels put out on the sunbeds, the pool man probably thinking I am crazier than I look to be up before anybody else in this hotel, but do you know what? I could not care less. I’m going to get the best possible chance of enhancing my tan and that’s the end of it. Love & light to all ✨

Tazmyn is sleeping like a little baby angel, a tanned little baby angel. Do I go back to sleep or do I make a coffee and watch over my precious sunbeds on the balcony? I guess I’ll provide updates in due course.

Lots of love,

Mrs Chalke x

✨ Saturday ✨

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The days are going too quickly! It needs to slow down, we only have four full days left of holiday and that makes me sooo sad! We’re definitely going to come back to Turkey, it’s our favourite holiday destination we’ve ever been to, next time we’ll try a different area though as we’ve been to this resort twice now and we’d love to see more of Turkey.

Today started off stressful. New Russians have arrived at the hotel and it’s battle of the sunbeds again. It seems 5am is not early enough anymore, so tomorrow it’s game on and I WILL get the perfect sunbed spot. Breakfast was amazing as always, we had freshly made omelettes, seeded bagels and then a stack of pancakes with Nutella. Soooo good! After breakfast was our morning coffee by the sunbeds.. lounging around the pool, dipping in and out whenever it got too hot. The temperature went up to 32 degrees today. LOVE. For lunch, I had grilled chicken steaks, rice and salad, and then a big plate of watermelon by the pool. Turkey has such good watermelon.

This afternoon our hotel had a foam party! It was amaaaaaaaazing. 💛💛💛

Our friends who we’ve made out here who are from Wales, came and got sunbeds near us after the foam party & we all went in the pool together & then up to the pool bar for donuts at 4pm. Best part of the day let me tell you.

This evening we just went across the shopping mall and had a cheeky McDonald’s, followed by an ice cream on the way back to our hotel.

It’s almost 10pm here Turkish time & we’re just about to play cards on our balcony. Tazmyns been teaching me & it’s become our nightly little thing we do now, and we love it 💗

All the love,

The Chalkes’ x

✨ TWITTER && INSTA ✨

Every summer has its own story ðŸŒ´ðŸ’•âœ¨

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Night Eight in paradise ✨

Tonight we went out to dinner, to this restaurant called ‘Timout’ a short walk away from our hotel in Side, Antalya, Turkey. It was really nice. I had steak with peppercorn sauce & Tazmyn had a chicken burger. I thought the presentation was lovely & they gave us free garlic bread as well which is always a bonus! Really lovely atmosphere (they were playing English country music which I found rather funny, maybe that’s what Turkish people assume English people must listen to!) 🤣💗How bloody gorgeous does my dinner date look? She’s super tanned & glowy! 😍✨ & all mineeeeee!

Back in our hotel room now, with snacks! We’re bringing loads of this kinda stuff home with us because they’re just so good!

Lots of love,

Sinéad x