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.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Vintage Berber Wedding Blankets at the Zamzam Boutique

I have just found some pretty vintage Handira (Berber wedding blankets) and thought you may like to see them. They have been added to the Zamzam Boutique stock which you can see online at Zamzam Boutique
Our new Zamzam website will be launched next week which is very exciting and the Zamzam Boutique will be online with all the current stock and photos of items in the Boutique at our website

This wedding blanket I found is really pretty and the diamond pattern very unusual.

Don't forget our Yoga and Reiki Retreat - 4 days on 25 June email me for details -
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Monday, May 24, 2010

A Traditional Moroccan Wedding

We were invited to ladies night at a Traditional Moroccan Wedding.  My daughter and I put on our Kaftans and bounced our way over the sand with a chocolate cake in hand.  When we arrived they showed us around there were about 6 different piles of gifts and katfans.  One tray had pajamas, jewelery, soap etc
A very glitzy shoe and bag set to go with the Takchita with belt on top.
Some guest arriving their outfits called Takchitas were incredibly ornate and colourful.
Whilst waiting for the hair and makeup of the bride there were fantastic interludes of drumming and singing, with lots and lots of clapping.
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A Moroccan Wedding in Marrakech

When we arrived at the wedding we were taken to see the wedding salon.  I was so suprised in this tiny little mud village at how ornate and big the whole ceremony was.  More than 100 guest were due and the wedding ceremonies go on for 5 days.  At ladies night only the men from the immediate family are allowed.  The evening before was the mens night.  The ornate chair for the bride was splendid and my daughter spent great delight in hopping in and out of it.
The ornate staging for the couple.
Sugar, boiled eggs and milk were good luck for the henna lady and the couple.
At the entrance to the tent was a table with loads of trays of hand made cakes with the most minute detail.  These are given to guests in boxes as they leave.

Whilst waiting for Fatiya to get ready I was asked if I would like something to eat it was 10pm and I was feeling a bit faint.  Yes please I said but just a little not too much.  They bought me a whole roast chicken and a leg of lamb.  I was shocked but decided to just get stuck in, I only managed a chicken leg!
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A Traditional Moroccan Bride

She was worried about wearing too much make up and asked the beautician to do her in a very natural way.  The beautician said are you mad your make up has to be done in a certain way as is the tradition otherwise I will loose all my clients and my reputation!
The hairstyling was amazing to watch, even though the make up and hair took 4 hours.  This is great she said, she has always worried about her thin hair to the point of me buying hair volumising vitamins.

As we progressed more and more she looked like a Geisha, I couldn't get over how similar the look was.
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A Traditional Moroccan Wedding

We were honoured guests to be following the bride and groom from her house into the wedding salon with her close family.
Fatiya in her first Takchita of the evening, they wrapped her in towls underneed to give her more shape.  I told her in the Uk brides diet for months to be thin in their dresses.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Traditional Moroccan Cooking Classes - Zamzam Riad

 We are having a real laugh at Zamzam with the cooking classes on of the great things to do in Marrakech at Zamzam. Two couples had a class together last week, I joined in as I love to when I have time. After discussing what we will cook we head off to the local market to buy our produce which is always an eye opener especially when buying live chickens. I keep telling everyone at least we know they are fresh!
The delicious traditional Moroccan salads that we serve as a starter or mainly for lunch with a variety of kebabs with marinades cooked over traditional charcoals.
This is a tomato and pepper salad and one of my favourites above is the aubergine with lots of olive oil.
 Hmmmmmmmm not the most beautiful briouates I have ever seen and these were made before a glass of wine. They are usually perfectly triangular filo parcels which are then deep friend. They are filled with cheese, mince, vegetables like a somosa. Any keen foodies, come to Zamzam for some delicious meals and let us know if you'd like to do a cooking course. Email Emma - or call 00212 (0)661215062

The cooking classes are also part of the upcoming Yoga and Reiki Retreat on 25 June.
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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!