Tuesday, 5 July 2016


its that time of year
time to step away from my laptop
shake out the beach towels
and head for some sunshine

Flights have been booked

and we are looking forward to taking time to slow down

enjoy leisurely and warm summer evenings

and sunny beach days

and maybe even a little time to play . . .
but as they say
i will be back
see you in a few weeks time

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

majorelle blues

I have had a busy month on the home front with moving house taking up a lot of my time and energy
so not a lot of time for blogging . . .
But slowly the practicalities are getting done and moving aside for the pretty stuff,
and even more exciting - I have a small office/workspace.
So I thought I would share some of the images I have earmarked for inspiration in this "room of my own"
The starting point - and hence the title of this post - is the quintessential blue of Jardin Majorelle.

It's the combination of that intense blue, with that wonderful accent of sunshine yellow

{and lord knows we need all the sunshine we can get here in the uk
even if i have to paint it in myself!}
Here are some more images for my Majorelle Blue Moodboard
all images and credits can be found HERE

So I am off to buy some paint!

if you have a spare moment or two
click across to my shop
for some more inspiration

zwin cotton throw 

Thursday, 19 May 2016

5 things about Tangiers

By artist Rima Farah

I first met Rima when I moved to Assilah and she fast became both a reference point for where to find ANYTHING in Tangiers as well as a friend who provided an often much needed voice of calm in the madness that can be Tangiers.
Her art, like her is one of quiet patience as she interprets the lyrical shapes and forms of arabic calligraphy onto canvases and ceramics.


When I asked her to list me her "5 things about Tangiers " her reply was less about specific people and places, and more about the essence of the city:

#1: The sea - surrounded by both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, I feel at the edge of the world.

#2:The topography - I love the hills and the open green spaces, the plants, the flowers. The space keeps me fit!

#3: The birds - the migrations twice a year with the storks everywhere, and birdsong. 
Lots of open  and magical skies and that special light for painters.

 #4 The food - lots of fresh fish, markets full of local seasonal produce and a huge variety - totally spoilt!

#5 The people - both the Moroccan and non-moroccan, Tangiers is like an airport, people coming in and out and lots of languages, stories, interests and characters - Never a dull moment!

More recently Rima has embarked on a project of getting little pieces of "baraka" woven onto cushions  But more about that later . . . !

For more about Rima and her art:


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Mouad Aboulhana . . .and my moroccan art collection

Well, the term "collection" is possibly a slight exaggeration, but it is something I aspire to, and with this in mind I decided to make a start.
These three prints by Mouad are in fact that start - I received them minutes before I left on my last visit to Tangiers at a hastily arranged coffee shop assignation - all very exciting, involving numerous messages, messengers and motorbikes!!
They are now sitting unfurled and unframed on my office table.

And here they are again below as a group and a little easier to view!
  The iconic moroccan babouche with a typical textile design in the background.These prints are full of references that I relate to. 

So a little more about the artist: Mouad Aboulhana

How would you describe your style?
My style is pure Moroccan Pop art and when we say Morocco, it is in fact a large melting-pot of cultures and traditions, from the Berber, the Arabs to Islam and international modernity.
So, you can say that my style is a mix of all these beautiful influences.
What are the techniques you use?
For me, techniques always evolve as your art matures! From graphic art using different inks on paper, to street art and painting on the walls of Medina of Tangier (North of Morocco), using stencils and spray paint. It is only three years ago that I started experimenting with digital art by mixing illustrations and images.

One of the images he is most known for is his "Tarbouch Kid"

Tell us about the "Tarbouch Kid" artwork? What does it represent?
Tarbouch Kid is a symbol for pure Berber-Arab-Muslim personality. This kid represents me in so many ways, he represents the community. Sometimes people ask “Why he is sad?” but in reality he is not sad at all; maybe he is shy, or simply tired because life in our society is hard. Also, kids are never two-faced, they always say the truth! Technically, the character was taken from a smart perspective and angle: his clothes are simple with his red Fez Cap and in the background, a Zellige mosaic.

(copy credit via:Re-volt Mag, ISSUE 16 - AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2015)


or follow Mouad on




to keep up to date with his work and 

exhibitions (he has a solo exhibition coming up in Dubai soon!)

I love the rich traditional aesthetic that Morocco has to offer -  its colours, pattern and textiles. The more time I spend there, the more I appreciate how contemporary artists are interpreting these traditions. I would love to include more of this work in my shop shouf{look} - so watch this space and I will let you know as soon as we have prints available online.

 And to conclude, another favourite. 
Remaining true to my South African roots I think this will have to be added to my gallery soon . . . 

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A little natural inspiration

It was this image below that got my attention . . .

I have been looking at ideas for lampshades and I love the organic shape and material of this one.
And then I started paging through all the images - some lovely things showcased in beautifully simple moroccan interior!
I thought you might like to have a look as well.


Thursday, 24 March 2016

A riad in Assilah

I like to think we are all nosy-by-nature when it comes to looking around other peoples homes, 
or is it just me??
 I love getting a chance to look at some of the beautiful homes in and around the medina of Assilah, and this one belonging to the lovely Karine  had me planning my summer vacation the minute I stepped through the door!

If you want to find out more about the house and holiday rental information contact Karine directly here: contact@darkaasilah.com

Loads of terrace and rooftop space to soak up the sunshine and live in the light

Living areas that open out onto a central courtyard.

And so many beautiful carpets!

Perfect spot for reading your book I think!

Sleeping space for the whole family and more.

A great kitchen in shades of grey and black in contrast to the white of the house.

A cosy corner of pattern and colour.

And finally . . . a seaview!
see you in Assilah!

Monday, 14 March 2016

A weekend in Tangier

Feeling a little tired of the grey uk?
Need something a little more exotic than your daily routine?
Hop across to Gatwick and fly to Tangiers on Friday, and you can be back on Sunday evening ready for that weekly routine again.

And while it may not be a huge amount of time, a weekend getaway that takes you to another country and continent in 4 hours has got to be worth it?
So with the scheduling of Air Arabia Maroc flights on a Friday and Sunday I decided to give some thought to what would I do if I had a fleeting 48 hours in Tangiers?

First of all decide where you want to stay! 
In the medina, in the kasbah, hotel, riad??

La Tangerina

I have a list of my personal preferences HERE on the blog
I think for first time visitors my advice would be to head up to the kasbah  -  The kasbah gives you a feel of the exotic without the chaos . . . there feels like there is a little more light and space, and considering you don't have a lot of time, it will also be a bit more relaxing!

Things start pretty late in the evenings in Morocco - so no need to worry that you will be late for dinner.
If you are feeling intrepid head straight down the hill towards the Grand Socco and the Medina where there is no shortage of places to eat and sights to immerse yourself in.

If you are more in the mood to relax and unwind over a glass of Moroccan red, pop into El Morocco Club in the Kasbah and see who's who in town.

In the morning
take a stroll out of the Kasbah and do a little boutique shopping in Las Chicas right by the main entrance where you will be able browse their curated collection of contemporary Moroccan crafts and fashion.

Then head down the hill to the medina and the markets - take your time, wander around and work out what you want and where to find it.

Keep an eye out for the nougat man in the medina - in my opinion the best nougat around!

Take a coffee break at Cinema Rif and people watch.

Feeling a little peckish after all that walking - try La Petit Socco in the middle of the medina - or La Saveur up the steps just outside the medina for a taste of fresh local food.

A lot of the Moroccan experience is about sitting and sipping a tea or coffee and watching the day go by - so if you are in that frame of mind and it is a lovely sunny day, head all the way back up the hill (you can get a petit taxi but actually central Tangiers is pretty walkable) and kick back with a mint tea at the famous Cafe Hafa.

If a weekend break is more about relaxing around a swimming pool then try a place like   La Maison de Tanger where you can head back to a sunlounger after negotiating the medina.

relax at the swimming pool at La Maison de Tanger

Sunday morning - you might just have enough time to dash into the medina for those babouche you decided you really want (they are apparently set to be the shoe trend of 2016!)
but honestly - if I was you - I would find a spot on the terrace . . .

view from the terrace of Dar Jand

 admire the view and the particular light that bounces off the ocean and enticed artists like Matisse to the city. 

Sip on some freshly squeezed orange juice or aromatic mint tea before heading over to the airport to wing your way home.

Its not a lot of time - but being on the northern edge of Africa, exploring the medina, hearing the call to prayer, all make for something a little more than average for a simple weekend break.

For more information re flights from London too Tangiers go to the Air Arabia Maroc website and head off into that sunset!!