Monday, 13 November 2017

MOROCCO - WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN CASABLANCA

Hello everyone,

It has been over two weeks since we came back from our five weeks of travelling around the world, eating, drinking and having a good time.  If you followed my Instagram posts, you would know that we literally did a round the world trip, starting in Morocco, then Italy, Cuba, South America and then back across the ocean to New Zealand and finally home to Australia.

Anyhow, I am over it now and ready to tell you all about our holidays, starting with Morocco.

Our first stop was in Casablanca.  We took the advice of our friends who have been to this city before not to spend more then two days and that is what we planned.  We landed at the airport in the middle of the night and went straight to our small boutique hotel, Hotel and Spa Le Doge, situated within walking distance of the Old Medina.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
It was furnished and styled in a true Art-Deco fashion with plush sofas and curtains, beautiful stained glass windows, a spiral staircase covered in red velvet and brightly painted rooms, each was decorated in its own distinctive style and was given a name.  Ours was painted emerald green and called La Tempica.

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
Breakfast was served on a terrace on the top of the building which provided a sweeping view over Casablanca.  After breakfast, we set out on foot to visit the Old Medina (traditionally the old walled part of a North African town), one of the "must see" places in Casablanca.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
As we entered the main square of the Medina through one of the multiple entrances, it felt that as if we had stepped into the  world of 1001 Arabian nights. We were deafened by the noises coming from the donkeys tied up to the posts everywhere, shop-keepers selling their wares, loud sounds of motorbike horns coming from the riders dashing up and down along the narrow and winding paths on full throttle and above all these noises, the overpowering voice calling believers to prayers coming from the mosque's loudspeakers which can be heard all over the city.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
The next few hours we spent zigzagging up and down narrow streets looking at the historical and monumental buildings, watching women choosing their fruit and vegetables spread in abundance on the tables of the market holders, smelling the exotic spices and sampling the dried figs  and apricots, marinated olives and locally baked bread.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
" 
IF YOU ASK ME WHAT WAS THE MAIN REASON 
WE CAME TO MOROCCO, I WOULD SAY ITS FOOD
"
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
By lunch time our senses went into complete overload and we decided to leave the Medina and have lunch at the famous Rick's Cafe,  designed to recreate the bar where Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman met in the movie classic, Casablanca.  
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
The lunch gave us much needed energy to continue our explorations so we set our feet to the other landmark that is a "must see" while in Casablanca, Hassan II Mosque.  It is the largest mosque in Morocco and 13th largest in the world, its beautifully ornate minaret stands tall to 210 meters and the tallest in the world.  Its other distinctive feature, though totally unrelated to the religion, is that it is one of not many mosques in the world that opens its doors for non-Muslim visitors, however you are not allowed to wander inside on your own so we joined the English speaking guided tour that which takes place few times a day.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
The following day we took a cab to the Quartie Habous, a small village lined with shops and eateries, where French influence is blended with the traditional Moroccan way of life projected in the architecture and design of this area.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA

After strolling through the artisan markets of the Quartie, we stopped at lunch in one of the well known restaurants called Resto Zayna for a delectable Moroccan lunch.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
followed by the sublime pastries that we bought at Pattiserie Bennis Habous.  I really have a sweet tooth for good pastry and when I first walked in into this sweet heaven, I was mesmerised by the aromas coming from the shelves covered with trays and trays of pastries that literally had just come out of the oven in front of our eyes.  I wanted them all, luckily for me I just had my lunch and wasn't feeling very hungry, so instead I settled for a small box of samples.  Needless to say, they were divine.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
As we were leaving Casablanca the next day, we decided to have an early night and had dinner at the La Jasmine restaurant at out hotel.  We started with a mezze, a collection of small dishes that tantalise your taste buds and enhance your appetite, followed by traditionally cooked meat dish and a trio of refreshing ice-cream to share.
A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA


A TRIP TO MOROCCO - PART 1 CASABLANCA
If you ask me what was the main reason to come to Morocco, I would say my love for Middle Eastern food.  I love the smell of spices, the vibrancy of colours and most importantly, the spices and the taste of the dishes of this region and quite often cook them myself to the delight of my family and friends.

On this note, I would like to share with you a recipe Moroccan Lamb Stew.  This dish is full of the exotic flavours of the Moroccan souks that will fill your kitchen with wonderful aromas and put happy smiles on the faces of your fellow diners. 
MOROCCAN LAMB STEW
You can find this recipe and many more in MY COSMOPOLITAN KITCHEN, a collection of dishes from all over the world, inspired by my travels, experiences and the multicultural diversity of Australian food and which, with great delight, I would love to share with you.

Enjoy!!!

Anna


Linking up withe Shelbee on the Edge



Saturday, 16 September 2017

OUR HOLIDAYS 2017

Hi everyone,
Just letting you all know that I am taking time off blogging for a while.  My husband and I are off to all those places coloured in red, starting off with Morocco and ending with a short stop in Auckland, NZ to visit my husband's daughter and her family on our way back to Sydney.

I will be sharing the images on Instagram whenever I can find Wi-Fi.

Stay well and I will reconnect back with you in about a month time.

Anna
xoxo

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A GYPSY SKIRT FOR A PICNIC IN THE PARK

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

Last Sunday was the first really hot day when you can shed off a couple of layers and start to believe that summer is just around the corner and a group of us decided to have a picnic in the park.  I was quite excited about it since the last time we attended an outdoor party was back in February (Australian summer time).
Despite the fact that everyone around has momentarily jumped into cut-off shorts, mini skirts and singlets, I wasn't ready to take off the layers and show off my pale legs, so I opted for a mid-calf gypsy skirt instead.  It was light and breezy, besides I wanted to wear something comfortable to be able to sit on the grass and still look decent.
I bought this skirt a while ago from the market in Green Market Square in Cape Town while paying our scheduled annual visit to my father in law.  I love this market and never miss an opportunity to visit it.  I very seldom leave this market empty handed as it attracts vendors from all over Africa and the variety of goods on offer is amazing and getting richer every time we are there.  I simply couldn't resist the temptation to buy something.
Not looking for anything in particular, I was aimlessly drifting from stall to stall when I spotted a rack full of these gypsy skirts bellowing in the wind.  At first, I couldn't understand the way they are constructed but on close inspection, I realised that they are all made out of two layers of silk fabric in totally different patterns that are not always colour-coordinated but sewn together to a soft belt that you can simply wrap around your waist and tie up on a side with a bow.
Both layers are reversible which means that technically you get two skirts for the price of one.    It took me good 10 minutes to choose one during which my poor husband almost jumped out of his skin.
I can't say that I get into the gypsy vibe often enough to wear this skirt but today was a perfect day for it.  I paired it with a sleeveless black lace top so my arms would get suntanned.  A leather saddle bag and tan sandals completed my "Wandering gypsy" look.
We had such a wonderful time in the park, the food was delicious, the wine cold and crisp and the company was a delight.
Do you like having picnics in the park or by the beach?

Anna
xoxo

Linking up with Fashion Should be Fun, Fine Whatever Blog, Shelbee on the Edge

















Thursday, 31 August 2017

MY TAKE ON PASTELS AND NEUTRALS

Hello everyone,

Hope you are all well.
If you are a regular reader, you know my love of bold prints and bright saturated hues.  Today, however, I have decided to steer away from my usual path and go in the opposite direction towards pastels and neutrals.
The reason behind the change of heart is quite simple.   This year we are going on holiday to, among other places, Southern Italy and I was reviewing my wardrobe to see if  I could blend in among the locals taking an evening stroll along the promenade in Sorrento.
Scrolling through my own Instagram feed, I’ve noticed that the majority of my outfits express quite an intense look due to my penchant for bright colours and bold prints that somehow may look a tad harsh under the soft September sun of the Amalfi Coast.
So I decided to break the pattern and discover a softer side of me and put together few looks that include soft pastels and neutrals which presented quite a challenge in itself since I knew that my wardrobe is quite limited in this department.  
Avoiding the impulse to run and buy any new clothes before the trip but determined to embrace the challenge, I decided to make do with whatever I could find in my closet and voila!

All the pieces of this outfit have been modeled on my blog before but usually paired with something of a more distinctive colour or print and not necessary all together.
The Pale Dogwood blouse, according to Pantone 2017 Colour Chart, was worn by me herethe Island Paradise block heel shoes from Max & Co - here and as I was throwing the dusty pink jumper (seen here) over my shoulders, I experienced a tinge of regret that I don't own one in pale yellow that would be perfect to make a full circle of a pastel palette.  However, since shopping while on holidays is part of the experience, I could buy it on the spot.  Meanwhile, the pink one will have to do.
As for my accessories, I chose a tan leather belt, my old off-white LV handbag and a scarf that I believe is expected to grace women's head or neck when they are in an open car driving along the  Amalfi Coast.  I settled for a scarf in a matching colour with my shoes.
I think it completed the outfit rather nicely.
As for my white denim jeans, you have seen me wearing them here, here and here just to name but a few.


When I checked myself in the mirror, I was genuinely surprised and pleased with the outcome.  Well, maybe technically not all the colours of my outfit can be described as pastels and neutrals but it was a start.
 Have you ever tried to wear something different to your usual style?

Until then,
Anna
xoxo

Linking up with Andrea from The Blended Blog, Nicole from High Latitude Style, Dawn Lucy from Fashion Should be Fun, Jacqueline from Styling in St Lois, Patty from Not Dead Yet Style and Rena from Fine Whatever Blog