August 9, 2015

marrakech (city of my dreams).

Back in March I made my way to Marrakech to meet up and explore the city for a few days with two of my favourite ladies. I arrived there nervous about food poisoning, spending too much money (I wasn't born to haggle) and not obeying local customs and appearing rude. I left four days later with a mind blown with pastel colour, a new appreciation for Moroccan mint tea (which we drank at every opportunity) and a tummy full of cous cous. I have never been so pleasantly surprised or inspired by a city. I often dream of wandering the souks laden with spices, rugs and teapots which makes me even more eager to return there one day soon. It has only taken me 5 months to write a post about my experience as I truly believe that words cannot do this city justice. You'll have to go and see for yourself! 

The places we went and where we stayed are listed below.

Our riad (Dar Al Kounouz) had moroccan tea available on demand morning, noon and night. Only a few minutes walk from the centre of the medina, I would recommend this place to anyone.

Peach and mint, a match made in heaven 

The combination of tiles, stone carving and peach made me not want to leave.

Blue skies and peach walls for days.

The Koutoubia mosque was not only one of the most beautiful buildings we saw but it was a point of reference to help us get around the city (and most importantly back to our riad).

Vintage fabric adorned the street stalls.

I was never scared wandering the quiet alleyways in this city. 

Happy faces on peachy buildings made me soooo happy. 

Tassels, tassels, everywhere. 

I was in homewares heaven. 

The incredible Ben Youssef mosque.

Kittens around every corner. 

I wanted ALL of the rugs.

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought the Jardin Majorelle in 1980 and saved it from falling victim to a real estate project and becoming a hotel complex. Today it is a cobalt blue oasis with gardens full of incredible cactus.

The best orange juice I have ever tasted. So many vendors to choose from and the stall holders will charm the pants off you for your business. (We rather enjoyed it.)

Cobalt blue magic at Jardin Majorelle.

Stalls are open around the clock. 

The patterns...

A corner of the beautiful Bahia palace. 

Seriously guys...the tiles.

Peach wall!

Treasure troves in every alley.

Jardin Majorelle beauty.

Now forever my favourite colours. 

Everywhere you look...

Cous cous for every meal.

Lunching on a roof terrace with my ladies. (I ordered cous cous).

Peach ombre effect anyone?!

Spices piled high.

The view as we left our riad.

The beautiful Bahia Palace.

Rugs, everywhere.

We stumbled across Dar Cherifa, a light and airy literary cafe hidden from passers-by.

Can't stop, won't stop.

I was close to hugging this wall. 

Door details to pine over.

Ben Youssef in all its glory.

The bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa (market square).

Make sure you empty all of the photos off your iphone/memory card before you go...

My kind of golden arches.

The weather. I know. 

Peach and mint green should ALWAYS be seen.

Inside of our beautiful Riad. Our hosts Youseff and Zach couldn't have been more welcoming.

Our roof terrace adorned with my favourite colour combo.

Moroccan pineapples. An image that will inspire many future artworks/interiors/dreams. 

March 21, 2015

beer brownie.

yuhuh, you heard me. the way to EVERY mans heart. fact. i made it for valentine's day because a. he loves brownie, b. I love brownie and c. it has beer AND chocolate chips in it! SOLD! i really don't have to say too much, the treacley taste of heaven with a chunky choc chip bottom layer (they fall helplessly to the bottom of the tin) is pretty convincing on its own. go, bake, be merry.

Beer Brownie

makes 12 large or 24 small brownies

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Guinness or other dark beer, or cold coffee
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter until it just turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Pour the brown butter into the chocolate and stir until combined. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the stour (or coffee).
  4. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sugars until thick, about 2 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all of the ingredients are well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the edges are firm and the center is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan before slicing.
  6. Slice into 12 large or 24 small brownies.
  7. To store, cover the pan in plastic wrap and keep on the counter for up to one week.

recipe is courtesy of the awesome Joy the Baker.

March 1, 2015

paris pastels.

last friday after work i took the train to paris to visit my gorgeous sister for the weekend. unbelieveably it's been a year since i was last there so it was time to make my way back for my fix of crepes, almond croissants and choux pastry (this pretty much sums up my visit). of course there's more than food to love in paris but it always leaves my tummy full (note the head sized lemon meringue pie that we queued an hour for) and my heart inspired. my first visit to paris was on my own in 2005 and i stayed in a dodgy hotel near the arc de triomphe (i wanted to be in the thick of it), lived on quiche and chocolate filled donuts for 3 days (bought from the same bakery as she understood my crappy french), avoided the metro and i came home feeling a little less than inspired. the second time around was with two of my best friends and we stayed in an eclectic (read vintage floral bedspreads and cold showers) apartment in montmarte, drank lots of wine, picniced at the eiffel tower, shopped for vintage dresses and indulged in numerous nutella crepes (see here). i had a ball and i was in love. third time around was just before i landed myself a full time job here in rotterdam so i shopped myself silly at the markets, wandered the passages and drank copious amounts of tea with my sister. i still have designs ready to be developed into screenprints from the treasure filled laneways of les puces. each time i've been i've discovered something new and found inspiration in the (parisian) ordinary. last weekend we saw koons at the pompidou, ate the best crepe of my life, dined at a restaurant that serves its dishes in a yorkshire pudding, fell in love with the pastel street of rue cremieux, wandered the tuilleries and rue cler and ate the biggest and best almond croissant. it was a dreamy weekend, and not the sort you hear about from loved up couples honeymooning there in summer. paris is raw, delicious and edgy. she's also arty, charming and soaked in history. next time around it won't be taking me a year to jump on a train. paris, je t'aime.