Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vintage Berber Wedding Blankets at Zamzam Boutique

I just thought I would share with you some of the new pieces I have bought for the Zamzam Boutique. I now have a gorgous collection of Handira (Berber Wedding Blankets) and some new editions of Berber Carpet, Beni Ouarains. If you click on this link it will take you to my online Zamzam Boutique where you will also see a recently updated collection of Beni Ouarain carpets.
These recently purchased Handira are beautifully clean vintage pieces.
This very shaggy wedding blanket is very unusual, I have never seen a Handira like this, it has tons of character.
What a treasure this is. A wedding blanket shawl it is absolutely stunning. I am told that Handira like these are very rarely made and they are for the Berber male wedding dress.
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Zamzam photo shoot - Moroccan Cooking Classes

We have have just had such a busy week with Joanna and Mike two photojournalists from Provence, but what a laugh we had too. They photographed two clients doing a Zamzam cooking course which also turned into great fun and the four of them ended up having dinner together and laughing most of the night.
Joanna wanted to photograph Karima making some delicate Moroccan pasteries and at the end the finished examples were painstakingly shot. I never realised how long and how much is involved in taking one still photo of an object. Hopefully we will get some great editorials on the riad interiors and food.
Joanna wanted to make the Zamzam logo out of doughnut batter. Really impressive don't you think. I thought it was going to look like bubble writing. I was so impressed with that idea. If you want to have a look at Joanna's fantastic work visit her website @ www.joannamaclennan.com
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Zamzam Boutique - Marrakech Medina

WOW what a busy week it has been. My feet have not touched the ground since we got back from Europe. You see I had a very special Photo Journalist coming to Zamzam to photograph my carpets, wedding blankets and cooking courses for a number of Interiors and Food Magazines around the world, Joanna MacLennan.
The wardrobe we had been waiting for to display some items from the Zamzam Boutique turned up at last and I was very happy with it. The babouche and wedding blankets look stunning on the glass shelves lit from above.
A number of people popped in to the riad over the summer to see my collection of wedding blankets which I use to store in the souk with my carpets, but now at last they can be seen at the riad.
The Boutique makes a nice opposite view to the gorgeous Yahya fountain at the other end of the corridor. If you fancy a Beni Ouarain Carpet or one of these stunning wedding blankets - click on the link and look on line at the Zamzam Boutique to see the current stock.
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Cider Farm -

These were the fantastic barrels filled with dry cider, you turned the tap in the front and filled your glass, any misjudgement went in the buckets. I sat down to do my riad bookings with a fresh glass of cider in one hand what could be better.
We later had a wonderful home cooked dinner in the main cider room.
The Farm is called Txindurri Iturri, they do have their own website but you have to hunt around google a bit for it.
They are a big hit with the local community and every year they have a cider festival at the farm. All the cider is made by hand in the traditional method with the traditional apple press.
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Our Way Home to Marrakech

On the way home to Marrakech from Cognac our first stop for the night was on the Northern Spanish Coast. We booked into a Cider Farm. The Northern Spanish coast is stunning a bit like the west country but with lots of nice beaches. The Farm was great with lots of animals and friendly owners. Our country cottage had lovely old linen sheets on the bed with hand crocheted detail, a real home from home. The cider was free out of huge barrels and we had a superb dinner where shortly after we collapsed into bed and slept well in the lovely fresh air.
The Jersey cows on the farm with a donkey for company, he was much more sociable than the cows and quickly came to chat.

A picture of the cider farm in its gorgeous surrounds.
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Photos from France

Sorry it has been quite a while since I have last written on my blog, unusual for me, but I have been ill for 6 weeks and am now left with chronic asthma! We had a real heatwave this summer in Marrakech it was 53 celsius when we left. We had decided this year to drive to France not fly and have a few nice stop offs en route to sample a few boutique hotels. Unfortunately 4 days before we were due to leave and head to the ferry at Tangier I came down with a terrible temperature and acute laryngitis that was so bad it made me cry when i swallow, I had had a weeks stomach bug before this. The trip was hard work as I spent each night in the lobby of a hotel, coughing and coughing, not ideal. I eventually ended up in a Spanish hospital for 5 hours with an oxygen mask and steroid shots, then several times with French doctors and then a hospital in London and then we drove home. Not all bad though, I thought I would show you some photos of the village lunch which is held each year in Lamberniere, where my parents live in France and where we go on holiday each August for a family get together.
My father has been extremely busy this summer making, mainly chutney but he made this wonderful elderflower wine which we took to the lunch with us.
The wood for the bbq from the local vines.
A clever portable bbq where everyone cooked their own meat. It was a very succesful lunch and the weather was glorious.
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As-Salaam-Alaikum

Hi, i'm writing this blog page to share information with all you wanderlust souls out there. Living in Morocco comes with lots of bizarre and unexpected events, which i thought you may enjoy reading about and sharing in the laughter.

My family and I moved to Marrakech 11 years ago from London. The beginning of a huge adventure for us. Choosing which country was right for us to live in had been an extremely long and tiring process. Having made a choice to move to MarrakeSh, was in itself a big box ticked. We had two criteria lists, one for our business (opening and running a guesthouse) and one for personal.

Phase two of our journey then began. Setting up home in Morocco, also a non English speaking country with a very different culture to ours. Marrakech is a real melting pot of; languages, tribes, rich, poor, city slickers, country peasants. It sometimes reminds me of that place Luke Skywalker went to, to buy that space ship, with all those different intergalactic aliens. (Any one know what it was called?) After months of beauroctratic paperwork, rendez vous with people who don't turn up and renting from an unpleasant woman for a large amount of money, we bought ourselves a villa. This was not in the plan as we didn't want to tie up our capital in a home. I now realise it is one of the best things we could have done. When you've had a really difficult day here to be able to close the door and relax in your own place really balances you.

Zamzam Riad & Spa was eventually created out of love and we hope you will come and stay and be pampered in our luxury boutique riad.



Creating the Guest House

We had decided to buy land and build a country guesthouse as per our business plan, about 10 double rooms and suites. The dream was to create a holistic retreat and build our house on the same plot. We were going to have an organic vegetable garden and provide a Moroccan Spa.

Land in Marrakech at that time, went mad. Prices going up daily, lots of people fishing but not really wanting to sell. There is also a problem here of title. ie not much land is titled and to buy land without a title is very difficult, unless you have a lot of time on your hands and like a gamble. We looked at more land than you can shake a stick at, drank more mint tea than you can imagine and got totally no where. It can take weeks to even get a price. You may be being shown a piece of land that isn't for sale or has already been sold. After a year of this we said 'that is it!, we are buying a riad!'

I had a total nervous breakdown and couldn't talk to anyone for three days. He then said this doesn't have to be the end....... It wasn't I have now built an Ecological Camp Adounia in the Sahara Desert!