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.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Moroccan Cooking School - Zamzam Riad, Marrakech, Morocco

We have just done a fantastic days cooking course with a Feng Shui Group from America.

The day started off with mint tea and a discussion on Moroccan food and recipes.  On the menu was Royal Tagine with lamb, vegetable tagine or Berber Tagine as it's called, for one vegetarian lady, Moroccan salads, including Zaalouk, Sweet Carrot and Courgette with spices.  I was told by a Moroccan gentlemen who bought the group that Zamzam's Zaalouk is the best he has ever tasted.  I would agree!

We then ended with a fun session of goat's cheese briouatte making. (little filo parcels).

Once the discussion was over we set off to the local market to buy our produce, stopping on the way at the spice shop to smell, discuss and buy spices for the group's personal use.

Here you can see the table set up with different oils, tagines, spices, olives and an array of vegetables, fresh and in season.  The olive oil is organic from our groves and pressed in the traditional method.  We use our organic olive oil for everything at Zamzam Riad, it is really way to good to cook with.

The beginning of our Royal Tagine with local organic lamb.

Pretty spices for the tagines.

A Moroccan mint tea interlude!

Vegetables for the vegetarian Berber Tagine.

Contact us at Zamzam if you would love to come and cook with us, its great fun!  -
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Organic Natural Henna in Marrakech, Morocco

We trotted off to find the new Henna Cafe in Marrakech as my daughter had won the Henna Design Competition and was to be treated to a supper of her choice and a Henna Tattoo by the world famous artist Nic Cartier from Boston.

You can see her design which is now printed on postcards at the henna cafe.  She chose all her favourite fruits and vegetables for a lovely designer salad with creamed goats cheese and olives.  She was in heaven being treated like a princess!

The Henna Cafe is a superb not for profit cafe which has been opened to educate poor Moroccans and specifically the Moroccan ladies who do Henna.  They have just finished a number of courses with ladies showing them how to make their own henna cones utensils and to use Eucalyptus oil instead of any harsh solvents when they mix their henna to a paste. 

The cafe have also made fantastic mits and socks to go over the henna once it has been done so that no henna designs become imprinted on sheets and pillow cases overnight.  I know this is something the riad community will be pleased to know.  Their Henna is natural and organic and the tools made from re-cycling cellophane.

The Henna Cafe upstairs is a calm little room for lunch and also has a nice little terrace on the roof

Having her own gorgeous bespoke Henna Tattoo done by Nic.

For anyone who knows Marrakech they are situated in the alley of Moustapha Blaui or you can visit their website

The finished henna tattoo with added blue sparkles as well.

I urge you to support this worthwhile little cafe and support the people and artists of Marrakech with you visits and donations.  Come here and have the real henna tattoo and experience.
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Free Weight Loss Programme for your Marrakech Bikini body

What a great way to start your bikini or summer body.  I'm very excited about Max and wanted to share his webpage so that we could all enjoy and learn something new.  I'm about to try his 10 day weight loss to shed a few pounds for summer, I will let you know how it goes.  Summer is long and glorious in Marrakech so getting trim and in shape is really important especially for your holiday in Marrakech.  Feedback on your results with this and how you got on would be really interesting. 

Max Tomlinson ND  : The 'Nature Doctor'An Australian trained naturopath, nutritionist, homeopath and medical herbalist. Max has a special interest in functional medicine and scientific orthomolecular nutrition and works closely with the leading nutritional testing laboratories in the UK. 

Max has been in clinical practice for over 25 years.

Max is a Consultant to the Global Luxury Wellness Spa industry and a Consultant to the Compass catering group.
'One of the top ten practitioners in the UK. The natural GP' The Guardian newspaper
'One of the top private Doctors in England' Tatler magazine          
'Top ten health gurus to see in 2007'   
Daily Mail                                                  
feature                                                                                                 Grazia magazine                                                                                               
Harper's Bazaar
'Dr Dish'                                                                        
Marie Claire -
Health GURU'                                                                                   
Team Telegraph' contributor

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Birthday Diner with best friends at Zamzam Riad, Marrakech, Morocco

It was a special 21st Birthday Dinner at Zamzam Riad with 6 friends.  6 girls so a girly birthday cake full of chocolate and Moroccan strawberries covered in white chocolate seemed to be what was needed to mark this special dinner.

Whilst in the riad that evening I used some time to practice my new photographic skills thanks to Delphine Warin and Gallery 127 for her wonderful photography course.

At last I can take shots at night showing the ambience of Zamzam and its wonderful lights, without a flash.

Our 160 year old palm tree with its pretty fairy lights.

The Bhou area for sipping a mint tea or a gin!
 The best friends birthday dinner in a magical riad.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vintage Berber Wedding Blankets, Handira - Zamzam Riad, Marrakech

I am in the process of updating the Zamzam Boutique online.  These are some recent photos I have taken of the pretty handira in our current stock.

This baby pink and blue handira is very rare I haven't seen another one like it.

This one is a pretty traditional handira with rows of neat cotton fringe packed with sequins.  These Handira are made by families for Berber wedding ceremonies.  They make a great wedding present.

One of my favourite with an unusual diamond fringe pattern.  Email me if you would like more information on any of these and sizes -
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Gallery 127 - Photographic Gallery, Marrakech, Morocco

 Our daughter has just finished a fantastic 8 week photographic course.  Every Saturday morning she went off with her camera, to learn about, light, composition, movement, developing real film and much more.

This course lead by Delphine Warin a superb photographer and great teacher at Gallery 127  it was absolutely superb.

At the end on the final day, 3 of their best photos which they had also developed were framed and displayed as an exhibition.  Coffee and croissants were on order and we all had a fun viewing.

Last but not least was the award ceremony to hand out certificates for their achievements.

Gallery 127 is situated just off Mohammed V in Gueliz and often holds outstanding exhibitions of photographers, it is owned by a lovely lady, Natalie Locatelli.  Check their website for the next opening. and see you there!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt in Marrakech, Morocco

 What a fantastic Easter Sunday we had with friends in Marrakech.  The day was stunning and the Atlas Mountains clearer than I can ever remember.  Driving to Tahanout the scenery was beautiful and a real treat in itself.

Arriving at our pretty destination in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains we all had a superb lunch together, pumkin soup, tasty tagines with sauteed potatoes (the best way to have a tagine) and lemon tarte to finish washed down with very good Moroccan Wines.

Next came the drama of hiding the Easter Eggs without the children seeing so I managed to remember my teaching days and a very silly 10 minutes of Simon Says were played with lots of jumping and fast touching of heads, toes, eyes, bums (always gets a big laugh).

The Easter Bunny aka Marcus had done a very good job.  However the eggs were collected quicker than the 3 hour drive around chocolate shops in Marrakech that the mothers had had the day before! 

Gorgeous little Moroccan baskets were handed out and off they went full of greed and excitement.

 What a stunning location and day for an Easter Egg hunt.  Moroccan holidays have so much to offer.  3 hours from the UK to this Moroccan Paradise.  Doesn't get much better than this!!
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Cheap Ryanair Flights to Marrakech Morocco

Cheap Morocco flight now on! Check it out.

Ryanair News UK - Ryanair, the world's favourite airline, announced that from midnight (24:00hrs) Tue 10 Apr it will release 1million seats.
This now makes a holiday to Marrakech even cheaper, especially with the great discounts at Zamzam Riad & Spa
Enjoy the Spa, going walking in the Atlas Mountains, shop in the souk, visit the Majorelle Gardens or just work on your tan early.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chanting with Camels - Yoga and Reiki Beach Retreat - Morocco 5-11 July 2012

Why not join us on our luxury beach retreat, with yoga, meditation, beautiful unspoilt beach walks, luxury tents for kings and queens and dining with spectacular views.  Come and get in shape for summer and rejuvenate your soul with a rare chance to be fully pampered with Spa treatments at the luxurious Zamzam Riad and then experience untouched beaches only 3 hours from the UK!
For more information email me -

or visit for the full programme and photos.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Family holidays in Morocco - inspiring Moroccan holidays

Zamzam Riad work with Epic Morocco, they are a tour company with an adventurous slant, organising high-quality group mountain biking and walking tours in and around the Atlas Mountains, as well as tailor-made holidays for individuals and private groups.

The company is British-owned and managed from Marrakech by people who are both passionate and knowledgeable about Morocco, and experienced in the field of travel. The company was launched with the objective of taking adventurous visitors off the beaten track to experience the beauty and unique character of Morocco. Flexible, friendly, and focussed on your objectives and requirements, Epic Morocco provides a complete service for all styles of journey around one of the world’s most appealing travel destinations.

Epic Morocco are owned and managed by Anglo-French couple Charlie Shepherd and Melodie Selvon. Both have spent much of their working lives in tourism sales, marketing, management and operations. The rest of the time they've spent being tourists themselves; both are well-travelled individuals with an unquenchable thirst for discovering new places.

Epic Morocco was set up in 2005 following two years of extensive research of mountain bike routes and hiking trails, and is managed from Marrakech where the couple live with their young sons Oscar and Max, and daughter Noa. Charlie spends much of his time leading groups, enjoying the chance to endulge his passion for adventure sports, whilst Melodie spends much of her time looking after their young family. Epic Morocco is a small and friendly company set up with the express aim of taking people off the beaten track to get to the heart of what's really special about this exotic, absorbing, and strikingly-beautiful country.

Harissa Making - Zamzam Moroccan Cuisine

Even if I say so myself I have just made the most superb Harissa.  We were experimenting with a new recipe and this time it has really paid off.

It is for chilly lovers as Harissa as anyone who eats it will know is blow your head off material.  We used alot of lemon zest in this one and its really delicious combined with our secret spices.

Book on one of the Zamzam Moroccan Cooking classes and learn how to make it.  I think with all organic ingredients from our kitchen garden made this harissa extra special.  Our organic olive oil is particularly delicious this year.  I'm learning that like French wines you have different years and quality of olive oil depending on the weather in that year.

I'm working on some advanced Moroccan Cooking Courses at Zamzam for experienced cooks so that we wil have beginners and experienced classes.

Here you can see the lemon zest and the sea salt from Essaouira.
 Beautiful red hot hot chillis from Morocco.  The recipes say to take out the seeds but we never do!!

Email me for more info.
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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!