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.



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sahara Desert Retreat - Luxury Eco-Camp with Yoga and Spa


So very very excited this morning as we progress towards the Sahara Retreat this March.  Not only with the weather be stunning especially driving through the Atlas Mountains with its pretty Berber villages and blossom but something much bigger is happening ……

We have been building a luxury eco-camp for Morocco Retreats.  Humanure toilets!, filtered desert water for drinking and recycling (no more horrid plastic water bottles), and a total solar solution which is on its was right now from the UK with my special duvets for the beds!!!


Daisy of the Desert our superb Yoga Inspiration, Nutritionalist and Reflexolgoy with a hint of Reiki.



This was part of our drive this Christmas with our Camp Manager Said to find Morocco Retreats the perfect site.  More about this in my next post.

My family this year who cannot resist the sand boarding!  With Jojo, very much a desert dog.


Zamzam Riad and Camp totally kitted with luxury mattresses and bed linen.

All adventures begin and end at Zamzam.

Our beautiful Nas, one of the Spa Team, intently pedicuring in her Morocco Retreats Spa Tent.
You can't miss being part of this years Sahara Retreats!! Fun, friends, deep soul connection, earthing energy (now so important to health and happiness) Ancient Berber Music, 1 million night stars and silence, sleeping deeply after pampering.




Monday, January 13, 2014

Raw Food Course - Zamzam Riad Cookery School Marrakech, Morocco

We are on day 1 of our Raw Food Course with 2 excellent chefs from Cashew Catering in the UK.

Its been very inspiring and we now have lots of ideas and recipes not only for Morocco Retreats our Yoga and Spa Holidays in Morocco but also for lovely cooling ideas for  Zamzam, our luxury riad in Marrakech and the summer menu




Date and nut milk being sieved through a jam bag - baby Yassir loved his.


Daisy my Morocco Retreats Partner, yoga teacher and nutritionalist is now in Marrakech to work hard with the retreat team.

Preparing granola - buckwheat covered in apple and pear ready to go into the de-hydrator.


This mix with linseeds makes wonderful crackers too.




The finished crackers out of the dehydrator.  They taste like wonderful tortillas and are great with guacamole.


Courgetti or courgette spaghetti



Tomatoe consume with a foaming avocado topping - i loved this!

Nut burgers being prepared to go with the salsa verde.

And finally our raw chocolate torte.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Terres D'Amanar - Family Holiday Activities in Marrakech - Accro Park



We often come to Terre D'Amanar on the weekend because the children love the activities and we get to have lunch in the sun looking at stunning scenery and being in fresh air.  This time however friends on holiday told us they had booked in to the Lodge at Terre D'Amanar after staying at Zamzam Riad.  They wanted us to go up and spend a night with them in the Lodge.  I thought it would be quite rustic and basic, but what a shock i got - lovely huge suites with bedrooms separate for children, a sun terrace with private loungers, a stunning bathroom, tastefully decorated and lovely and warm.  The buffet dinner was excellent as was the breakfast.

It was superb being up and out in the park early as with 7 children and a baby we could book all our activities and get organised for the day.  Contact details are as follows for all reservations.

 contact@terresdamanar.com
(+212) 524 438 103 contact@terresdamanar.com

These guys are only 3 years old but they can start on a baby zip line which is brilliant, they loved it.  There is also a wooden tree house park for them to play in.


The older 3 children who are 9 enjoyed the bigger zip lines and staying in the lodge meant they could go round many times.






One of the tree houses in the woods - my daughter had her birthday tea here last year it was superb.




Afternoon donkey riding.  There are so many activities - trekking, mountain biking, games, pottery - have a look at the website to discover everything in the park.

The highlight for me was the professional stables there.  Being an experienced rider not only were the stables clean and the tack and equipment but the riding trail was excellent and the terrain meaning that we could have a wonderful gallop in the mountains.  This is the best riding I have done in Morocco.

Check out their website for more information, its excellent combined with a city stay in the Medina with Zamzam Riad & Spa

http://www.terresdamanar.com

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cashew Catering - Raw Food Course in Marrakech - Zamzam Riad

So so excited to have these amazing chefs flying into Marrakech from London to train a small group of enthusiastic cooks for 3 days.  The Zamzam Chef Ilham will be using her new skills in our Summer menu and Daisy and I will be introducing new ideas and a Raw Retreat to the Morocco Reteats Programme.




Day 1 – Raw Foods.
12pm-6pm, 13th January

Introductions + set individual goals for learning!

Demo’s:
Nut Milks
Granola
Seed & nut crackers
Cashew & herb soft cheese
Sauces/dips
Lemon ice cream
Courgette & carrot ‘pasta’ w marinara sauce & polpetta

LUNCH BREAK

Practical/hands on:
Burger/kofta mix
Sweet & sour vegeatbles w cauliflower cous cous
Nori maki rolls
Almond fudge brownie
Tomato consommé w basil oil
Beetroot gazpacho w lemon ‘cream’

Demo: Chocolate torte

Day 2 – Cooked Foods
11am-5pm, 14th January

Practical/hands on:
Marzipan cookies
Millionaire Shortbread
Pumpkin pie

Aubergine & avocado maki rolls
Corn tortilla’s w pulled portabellos
Apple & ginger beignet w pickled cucumber

LUNCH BREAK

Demo:
Raw berry tart

Practical/hands on:
Black bean burgers w sweet corn salsa
Chick pea & coconut pasanda w tarka dahl & pilau rice
Cashew cheese pizza

Task:
Design and write the recipes in pairs for a 3 course meal, using the concepts you have been learning, that you will make tomorrow. We will guide you through the process as and where needs be.


Day 3Own recipes & chocolate making
11am-5pm, 15th January

Practical/assignment:
Students to create their 3 course meals in pairs with our support, when necessary.

LUNCH BREAK
Enjoy your amazing creations!!!

Practical & demo work - Chocolate making workshop
What is chocolate?
Basic raw chocolate recipe
Chocolate truffle making for all

Demo raspberry & dark chocolate tart

Closing hugs!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Morocco Retreats - Holistic adventures with yoga and Spa team


Here are a selection of photos from Morocco Retreats 2013, taking you to beautiful places in Morocco with the carefully selected Retreat and Spa Team.


Spectacular drives to the luxury camp in the Sahara, stopping to explore Ait Ben Haddou and its ancient Kasbah's on the way.


Comfortable drives to the beach and Sahara Retreats in Toyota land cruisers with experienced drivers and our Camp Manager Said.

A beautiful villa in Oualidia for the Pampering Retreat in June 2014 offers a villa with a view where everyone can unwind and relax and is right on the beach.

You can even go for a stunning beach ride if you fancy it with views that will take your breath away.


As well as Daisy Booth helping you stretch through yoga and relax with reflexology our Spa girls Nassima and Leila are with us to really pamper and look after you.

Stunning meals prepared daily by Emma carefully planned menus with Daisy our in house nutritionalist means that you feed body and soul on a Morocco Retreat.


If you like what you see and want to join us for a retreat of a life time that you will never forget and make firm friends whilst truly getting away from every day life, have a look at our many different retreats planned for 2014 - www.moroccoretreats.com

Our retreats are for everyone old and young, beginners to advanced and are packed with goodies to enjoy.

Retreats in 2014 include, Sahara, Beach villa and camp, walking in the Atlas, Slim and Trim and finally our Paleo Retrreat with Brahim a beautiful soul and film Stunt Director.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Moroccan Textiles - Zamzam Boutique new stock

I have included some photos of beautiful new acquisitions for the Zamzam Boutique - any of these can be purchased by emailing me direct  or wait until the new Zamzam boutique website is launched later this month.




Pretty Berber Blankets at great value.



Juju hats from Cameroon.


Boucherouite rag rugs in pretty colours.


Pretty little Azilal Carpets from the high Atlas Berbers and vintage Beni Ouarain carpets from the middle Atlas. New Beni Ouarain can be made in 5 weeks made to measure and design, just send over a photo with size for a quote.

Vintage Berber wedding blankets or Handira - these are becomingly increasingly hard to find in great condition.  The work well with these Moroccan embroidered cushions in different colours on request.


As soon as my new shop site is launched I will notify you all! Happy 2014 and thanks for following.



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!