Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Londoner | Ten ways to save money in London while being creative



London is an expensive city. A lonely city. A polluted city. Yet it's also vibrant, loving and full of life wherever you go. You have to have a certain personality to withstand the heat but once you've cracked it, it's not easy to ever let the Big Smoke go. I've been here 8 years now and I still can't manage to be away for too long.

Since starting blogging 18 months ago alongside taking a pretty hefty multiple grand pay-cut, I've learnt to save my money and make it go further than ever. Yet somehow my quality of life is better than it's ever been before, minus the expensive clothes and unnecessary stationery splurges. I've learnt to make the best out of any situation and find fun in the heart of the city. Rather than spending all my money on beer - which don't get me wrong, is also fun too - I instead embrace more sober nights and seize the day with plenty of walks and cultural expeditions. Want to know my story and some of my methods for watching those finances? Keep on readin' for those dollar saving tips.


Walk everywhere


Walking is good for the soul AND the bank balance. I've completely and utterly learnt to ignore my body's will to be lazy and instead taught it to enjoy using those little things we like to call legs. Why pay for a gym membership when you can get fit and actually see that beautiful city you like to call home? Amazing street art, inspiring architecture and the characters of London are all waiting to be found. These things can't normally be located via the tube. It's time to look up, get walking and try not to spend all your money on shoes instead. 


Pick the FREE exhibitions


While many of the paid exhibitions are absolutely incredible in London, they are quite often very pricey due to the size and investment that's gone into them. Of course we need to support the arts, but when you're on a budget it's not always possible. Don't fret, for their are SO many incredible galleries in London that offer free exhibitions with both upcoming and established artists alike. Try spaces like Jealous, Stolen Space Gallery, Protein Studios and Nahmad Projects, while of course the V&A and Saatchi galleries are also predominantly free of charge for your use. This is why I love London. 


Explore new areas


Going back to those walking vibes, London is a huge city and not many of us can say that we've been everywhere. There's nothing better to spark inspiration than a wander around a new place - who knows what you might find? Try and explore the outskirts. There's some places in Zone 3 and 4 that are reminiscent of villages and provide some much needed respite from the hustle and bustle of central. Here's looking at you Snaresbrook, Blackheath, Charlton...

Get on those mailing lists


Now, we all bloody hate a mailing list. So why am I recommending this? Well. Firstly. I'm not talking about those mass brand, sales, sales, sales emails. I'm talking about independent magazines, small London boutiques and the little art galleries. Quite often these places host events and guess what? Everyone on their mailing list gets invited. These normally provide free booze, a great exhibition or product launch and an endless room of networking opportunities. So what are you waiting for?  Get subscribing! 


Get some fresh air


Waking? Again? Really? Not exactly. This time I'm talking about Londons wonderful abundance of parks. From Regents Park to Greenwich's Royal Observatory Grounds, there's beautiful scenery to simply sit and take in. Better yet, grab your sketch book and whisk the afternoon away in solitude or with friends.


Offer your services


While you might think this isn't going to save you money, you better believe it will when you need it to. Think about your skills and how you can exchange these with someone who will be of use to you in exchange. For example, you're a kickass copywriter but you need help with your website. Ditch the excessive developer fees and find someone that needs the words to go in their own portfolio. Make an exchange. Enough said. 


Get networking


Following on from the above, it's literally all about networking. People inspire creativity and the more you meet, the more likely you are to potentially meet your future business partner or fellow collaborator. Again while this isn't technically a way to save money directly, the majority of these kinds of events are always free, sometimes offer beverages and food and will distract you from spending money elsewhere. Try the likes of Google Campus, General Assembly and Ace Hotel for regular creative talks programmes. 

Go sober


Okay, so I honestly don't mean to advise you to go completely sober, but booze is one of the main expenses for Londoners and is it really worth it? This year I've been making more of an effort to be engaged in my nights out and while I still definitely have a cheeky whisky on most soirees, I  definitely don't go overboard. I've saved a mass of money from doing this as well as got to laugh at a lot of drunk people and have a clear head in the morning. Being creative is all about being proactive remember? 


Work for free or really, really cheap.


This one won't apply to everyone, and I don't mean to literally work for someone else for free. However, if you're a freelancer or have a small business, don't whittle away your money on a fancy office space when there are plenty of areas in London that you can work for free and a crazy amount of office spaces where you can work from as little as £50 a month. I'm working on a post for the best places to work, so stay tuned!

Start writing


While I'd never advise starting a blog for money or other related perks, I'd certainly advise writing one to make you have a strong focus and genuinely keep you occupied for a lot of hours. If you're truly passionate about something, write about it and who knows what will come from it. I've seen blogging have a massively positive impact on my quality of life, from the people that surround me to the amazing opportunities that present those who put a lot of effort and passion in. 

What are your top tips for saving money in a major city? I'd like to know. Go on, leave us a comment, you know you want to...
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Saturday, 1 April 2017

The EJP Abode | The Bedroom Edit




It's only one week until we move into the new abode and while I'm well and truly pumped to have an amazing new space, I'm also dreading the week ahead. We officially get the new keys to our pad on Monday but what with Milan Design Week we won't actually be moving ourselves in until the 8th. You know when something you're excited about gets in the way with something you're even more excited about? Looks like I'm going to be needing a bed imminently...

On that note it's probably time to kick of the interior takeover around here and get started on sharing some of my inspiration and the products I'm lusting after. While we've touched base on my love of homeware before, I've never really focused on it too much - mainly due to the those little perks of renting a.k.a magnolia walls and brown carpets. Thankfully someone in the property world took pity on us (anyone ever tried renting with a pooch?) and decided to let us rent their beautiful home, complete with roll top bath, huge windows and wooden flooring. It was literally my dream home when I found it, so I can't quite believe we managed to out-do all the other interested parties, and it's now going to be somewhere to call home. I hope that you're ready for a few changes around here - who knows where it's gonna lead? 

The need for immediate zzz's has got me thinking about the haven of sleep and I know this will be the first room to be ready. For the last two and a half years my bedroom has essentially acted as my office, dining room and lounge so I can't even tell you how excited I am to design a space exclusively for sleep - no laptops allowed. 

Linen bedsheets, wood detailing and industrial vibes will all be prevalent in my new boudoir. I want texture galore with a little bit of graphic input from carefully selected cushions and rugs. I've explained previously that my colourful aesthetic doesn't come across too much in my home but with the bedroom already painted in a Petrol Blue shade, there's going to be a pretty bold colour choice on the wall and room for a lot of greenery too. Shop some of my shortlist below and don't forget to pop back for the big reveal!


The Bed


Bedroom-Edit-Industrial-beds-Emma-Jane-Palin

1 // Bohemian Birch Bed | IKEA | £195.  2 // Simple slatted Bedframe | Ikea | £109.  
3 // Brushed Brass Bed | Made.com | £399.  4 // Industrial Reclaimed Wood Bed | West Elm | £999  5 // Woven Platfrom Bed | Urban Outfitters | £850


The Side Table


1 // Graphic Black and White Pouffe | Maisons du Monde | £86.29.  2 // Hammered Metal Side Table | Urban Outfitters | £65.  3 // Graphic Wire Side Table | Maisons du Monde | £35.99.  
4 // Industrial Geometric Side Table | Swoon Editions | £129.  5 // Rose Gold Hammered Side Table | Habitat | £130.


The Lighting


1 // Tubular Industrial Floor Lamp by Heals | Amara | £185.  2 // Black & Brass Task Lamp | West Elm | £199
3 // Muted Grey and Brass Tripod Lamp | Made.com | £199. 
4 // Copper Floor Lamp | Habitat | £195.  5 // The Original Task Lamp | Anglepoise | £200


The Storage Solutions


1 // Blue Seagrass Laundry Basket | Habitat | £100.  2 // Heavy Duty Wire Rack Storage | Loaf | £95.   3 // Copper Valet Stand | Made.com | £299.  
4 // Distressed Industrial Chest of Drawers | Dunelm | £275.  5 // Distressed French Neoclassical Drawers | Made.com | £279

So there we have it. Not everything has been purchased just yet so please do offer me feedback - all opinions welcome. Like what you see? Why not come and visit my Pinterest for more interior inspiration? Of course you're also welcome back here anytime.
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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Milan Edit | Milan Design Week 2017 Preview



With Milan Design Week fast approaching and a ton of preparation to be done on my end, I'm skilfully mapping out my destinations via a tiny little preview post - for both my own sanity and perhaps to help a few others plan out their own week too. The press releases have been scoured, the invites have been researched and the world wide web has been searched. All that's left to do is head to Bar Basso and get the hell on it with trend spotting and designer hunting. You can join me too via my Instagram or by coming back after all the fun for a full update. Grazie!


Apartamento Eley Kishimoto for Kirkby Design


London print and fashion studio Eley Kishimoto have joined forces with interiors brand Kirkby Design (remember that iconic designjunction sofa?) to explore their shared passion for pattern and make all my dreams come true. This coalition of geometric lovers will result in a five room apartment in Brera covered in a collaborative collection of fabrics and wall coverings that will be sure to hurt your eyes. When two of your favourite brands collide - all I can say is - yes, yes, yes! 

Via Palermo 1 | Planta 2 | 20121 Milan


Ten years of Lee Broom


It wouldn't be a design festival without Mr Broom making an appearance and MDW marks ten years of the award-winning British furniture and lighting designer. To celebrate, Broom will be taking over a vault in historic Milano Centrale train station, unveiling his landmark tenth anniversary collection entitled ‘TIME MACHINE’. The installation will feature an edit of furniture, lighting and accessories from Broom’s ten-year career, all re-imagined in a completely white colour palette to bring about a sense of uniformity and purity. You never know fully what to expect from a Lee Broom installation but this one looks to delve even further into conceptual design and I'm sure we can expect a completely immersive and jaw-dropping experience.

Ventura Centrale | Via Ferrante Aporti 17 | 20125 Milano


A multi-sensory experience with Cos + Swine Studio


Cos installations are continually inspiring and imaginative and this year looks set to be no different with the fashion brand collaborating with interdisciplinary designers, Swine Studio. Set at the cinema arti, an inactive 1930s theatre built by Italian architect Mario Cereghini, the installation aims to reflect optimism and renewal for the new year. Entitled ‘new spring’, we can hope to see a sensory exhibition, challenging current cultural issues, while bringing positive and joyful thoughts and memories. From the imagery above, it also looks like we can expect to see the incredible play on light and dark from previous Cos exhibitions - hooray!

Cinema Arti | Via Pietro Mascagni 8 | 20122 Milano | Italy 


Everything is Connected


I was in awe of Norway's 'Structure' exhibition last year and I still have the A1 poster proudly framed to prove it. Returning to Milan, Norway presents 'Everything is Connected', a craft and design showcase that will present 30 of the most exciting designers the country has to offer via their prototypes, new concepts and designs from furniture to textiles to lighting, ceramics and glassware. Curated by Katrin Greiling, Everything is Connected aims to paint a creative portrait of a country, telling the story of craft and design from concept to creation, and exploring how geography, education, material resources and production networks all play their part in shaping the products a designer or craftsperson conceives. The beautiful matchbox from Sara Polmar (above) giving just a small indication of the craftsmanship you can expect.

6 Via Ventura | Ventura Lambrate | Milan


Mystical Solace by de Allegri and Fogale


Designed by De Allegri and Fogale, 'Mystical Solace' has been created in collaboration with Casone in the spaces of Dome Interior Milano — the atelier dedicated to interior design and architecture. The installation, completely contained within a triangle structure, gathers forms and symbols and allows visitors to cross a threshold into heart of commercial Milan. Of course I was immediately struck by the geometric nature of the installation and from the tagline of 'finding comfort in the metaphysical during times of great distress', I'm sure theres something even more magical to it in person.

Dome Interior Milano | via San Marco 1 | Milano



IKEA Let´s make room for life Festival in Lambrate


Lambrate is by far my favourite of the design districts thanks to how it champions young designers and manages to look effortlessly cool all at the same time. With IKEA now focused on upping their involvement in the design world it seems like the perfect area for them to make a temporary home. In a warehouse in the heart of the young and vibrant district, the Scandinavian brand will show some of their ongoing and new collaborations, six new collections alongside an energetic mix of workshops, installations, interviews, music, live prototyping and happenings. Be sure to check out their collaboration with Tom Dixon too!

Officina Ventura 14 | Lambrate | Milan 


Refin Ceramiche x Studio Pepe


If you're knocking around Brera then be sure to pay a visit to Refin Stufio, the recently discovered prestigious spaces designed by Studio Sottsass in the early 90s, which Refin Ceramiche have taken over. Launching their new Twist collection, patterns and geometries are the centre of attention (yes please!) and the collection and staging were designed by Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara di Pinto, creative directors of the incredible Studiopepe. From taking a look at early imagery, this looks set to be one for the abstract lovers and those that like a pit of pattern in more of a muted colour palette.

REFIN STUDIO | Via Melone 2, | Milano


Nomadic design from Natalia Geci


It will be my first time heading to the fair in Milan and while I'm certainly under the impression I'm going to be somewhat overwhelmed, I'm looking forward to scouting out trends. One of the emerging designers I'll most certainly be keeping an eye on is Natalia Geci whom has just launched a nomadic desk that users can dismantle and pop straight into a bag for travelling, moving home or just going on a creative adventure. Keep your eyes peeled for her Marie Kondo-inspired structures popping up at the Argentinian stand. 

Hall 8, Stand E41 | Salone Internazionale del Mobile

Got something you want me to see? Drop me an email. All imagery courtesy of respective brands or PRs.
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Monday, 27 March 2017

The Blogger Addict | Ten creative lifestyle bloggers to add to your bloglovin'




There's nothing better than discovering new bloggers in the world, especially when they fit in with your own graphic design and illustrative vibe. We all love a spot of design inspiration and new discoveries, don't we? It took me quite a while to find others doing this very special thang, but once I found one, others came shining through within the community. 

In my opinion, the creative lifestyle bloggers are some of the most unique voices in the industry. They rule the roost when it comes to uncovering new talent, finding the best independents and creating beautiful visuals to accompany their blog posts. Most of them are pretty wacky too. It's a lot of work on their part, but boy do these guys have a continual stream of creative juice. I've picked ten of my favourites below. Add 'em to your bloglovin' and show them some love. 

P.S Forgive the photo of me above, but I'd also like to think that I'm worth a follow too so I thought I'd smack myself at the top of the page - promise I'm more modest in real life. 


Natasha Nuttall // Graphique Fantastique

I know I bang on about Miss Nuttall all the time, but this lass is so good that I had no choice but to include her. Graphique Fantastique started while Natasha was at Lincoln University and has grown with her, from her struggle to get a job after graduation to her freelance work now. The blog culminates a mixture of graphic design, interiors with a design twist and fashion with geometric elements - a graphique view of the world if you'd like a brief descriptive sentence. If you're into honest, thoughtful and engaging words, accompanied by hand-drawn illustrations and the occasional vlog, this is the blog for you. 



Emily Beeson // Young Gold Teeth

When I first discovered YGT, I jumped with joy at the editorial style and refreshing content. Founder, Emily Beeson has a way with words, a ton of experience and a very strong design eye when it comes to selecting artists and designers to feature. Emily constantly focuses on the true narrative of a brand, bringing their story to light and backing them wholeheartedly. Her own tagline reads 'celebrating creative lifestyles' and that's exactly what you can expect from a ten-minute read of Young Gold Teeth - engaging, exciting and uplifting text with beautiful imagery to accompany. 



Fab // Snail Mail Love

Fab of Snail Mail Love embraces a slow creative lifestyle, championing stationery and a good old fashioned celebration of traditional letter writing. Her beautiful illustrations accompany her posts and you can expect to find her latest notebook finds, discovered greeting card brands or tips and tricks for making the most out of your letter writing. This is a blog with a unique niche and a lovely lady behind it - get inspired to create and take on Fab's original ideas. Penpals NEVER get old, believe me. 



Ella // Ella Masters

Ella Masters - whatta babe! While this lady is smokin', she's also one of the most open and honest bloggers I know, constantly addressing real life problems and helping others along the way. Her blog is a mixture of her daily life as an illustrator, her style and her London adventures - the perfect culmination of everything creative. Everyday is different over on Ella's blog. Expect to find her latest artwork, latest purchases or a heartwarming open letter about the struggles of being a creative in a big city. Her words read just like a journal, one of the beautiful things about blogging fo' sure.


Uli Schulz // Found Some Paper

While Found Some Paper might be on a little bit of a back burner this year (due to another very exciting botanical project), there's still plenty of talent to discover within the archives of the blogroll. Founder Uli takes hard-working to another level with her business savvy and extensive set of marketing and creative skills. You can follow her journey as a freelancer, picking up real-life tips here and there, while also immersing yourself in the artists and designers she meets on the way.


Zabby // Zabby Allen

Just like the above photo suggests, Zabby is like a little ray of sunshine in the blogging world, sharing colourful photos and amazing doodles on a daily basis. Her blog showcases here unique illustrative process as well as those that inspire her - you'd be mad not to check out her series with designers and their pets - now that's my kinda series, plus her pooch George is a serious cutie. Zabby's blog is also the place for DIYs and free downloadables, so don't be shy and go say hi!



Laura Redburn // Cardboard Cities

Laura shares snippets of her daily life as an illustrator as well as beautiful visuals of her journey whether that be on a walk, in her home or via a sketchbook. Cardboard Cities regularly features her collages, her work for other bloggers and the occasional fashion and home decor post too - all with a geometric and pretty pastel vibe of course! Note: her Sunday links blog post is a rather great round-up of the internet, so get following!

cardboardcities.co.uk
@cardboardcities



Lauren Alexa // Naked Fashions

While Lauren may not describe herself as a creative lifestyle blogger directly, I feel like her blog is firmly going more and more down this route with cute illustrations and animations becoming the focus of her posts and her newly opened shop. I love a site that combines creativity with culture in a casual and cool way - Naked Fashions is exactly that and shows that there is more to us creative lot than just a little bit of craft and a hefty stationery obsession (while of course that is also very important). Empowering, full of real-life and a pretty insane ever-changing wishlist, Naked Fashions is fast becoming one of my favourite pitstops.

nakedfashions.com
@itslaurenalexa


Verity Inett // Inspire and Enjoy

Not only is Verity an extremely talented writer (for the likes of The Holborn and 91 Magazine), she's also an extremely big supporter of the designer-maker industry and has been known to spend her weekends on a market stall or two. While juggling her job as a full-time teacher with her wisdom for words, Verity also manages to write a gorgeous blog that really focuses on independents and which she describes as 'inspiration for an independent life'. I've been known to get lost in her 'top ten' posts and I'm sure you'll be taking out your wallet in no time too...



Lizzie Evans // The Smuggler

I love a good business blog and Lizzie Evans of Smug gets it exactly right when putting a fact to her brand and showing off the incredible designers of her Islington-based creative lifestyle store. In The Smuggler, Lizzie shares her own behind the scenes design process, DIY's and some of her design favourites. It's easily digestible and not updated too frequently, perfect for those who find it hard to keep up with the blogging world but like a chunk of well-written design every so often, with the chance to shop most things directly from the shop too!
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Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Travel Guide | Creative tips for Marrakech



One hour after arriving in Marrakech, I wasn't quite sure what I was in for. Three passport control officers slowly typing in a planes worth of passengers passport details along with a the tiniest handwritten landing cards. A culture shock to say the the least. Say 'Au Revoir' to those nifty machines that never read your passport properly and piss you right off at Gatwick. God, I would have given anything for those machines when waiting to discover this land of colour. 

But where the Moroccans lack in technology, they certainly make up for in design. A beautifully tiled airport interior with dazzling spherical ceiling lights and a laser-cut-esque golden wrap around the exterior architecture. A stunning entrance to a stunning city, where new meets old and the locals generally embrace the change, with every taxi driver boasting of their new and improved airport. 


And it doesn't end there. Perhaps this reconfigured airport is the perfect encapsulation for this ever-changing landscape, where contemporary and traditional boundaries are merging and a highly engaged youth culture is bringing a new art scene to life. The support amongst these young creatives and businessmen is insane and after a small chat with just one, you'll end up with a list of places as long as your arm to visit, all just as good as the last. I've listed my favourite places to go below as well as some top tips for travellers (it's not the easiest city to work), keep on reading babin' babes! 

TO STAY:




Riad Rose Meryam


I searched long and hard for a traditional riad in the city and quite frankly I found the search tiresome until Riad Rose Meryam came along. I found that many looked too Western and bland, not quite the tiled floor and wall combination I was after - there are some Moroccan traditions that just shouldn't change after all. With its beautiful patterned ceramic walls and colourful decoration, Rose Meryam had me at hello (sometimes you have to look beyond amateur photography) and from the incredible reviews, I knew that we would be in for a real Moroccan experience. 

The immediate welcome with mint tea and mama's homemade Moroccan sweets confirmed this and a delightful chat with the family siblings, Mohamed and Zineb, about places to visit probably made our trip what it was - perhaps you have them to thank for this guide instead. 

Spacious rooms, dreamy bathrooms and tile envy all around, the abode is humble but amazing for the price, and you get the feeling that you're supporting real locals as opposed to property developers who don't really care. Zinebs's two year old son roams cheekily around the riad, bringing a smile to everyone's face and essentially making it feel even more of a home. We couldn't have felt any more a part of the Rose Meryam family, from the incredible breakfasts on the terrace to the afternoon play sessions with Amir, it really was a pleasure and I wholeheartedly recommend this as a place to stay on your next visit. 

1 Derb Sidi M'barek, Quartier Sidi Mimoun, 40000 Marrakech, Morocco 

Top Tip: If 5am wake-up calls aren't your thing, bring along some ear plugs. Marrakech citizens mainly abide by Islam so a call to prayer at sunrise is standard procedure. Nobody likes to wake up to, what sounds like, a man singing in their bedroom on their first morning, although actually I found it quite soothing by the third day! 

TO DO:




Jardin Majorelle


Jardin Majorelle is a must visit for anyone with a love of fashion, colour, nature, anything within the creative realm. The gardens were one of the most inspiring and serene places I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing and we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day to hang amongst the greenery and snap portraits against the bright, bold hues of Yves Saint Laurent's Moroccan abode.

With over twelve acres of botanical goodness, the site was originally owned by expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s. He is actually the man behind Majorelle Blue, as the colour is used so extensively within the gardens. Saint Laurent was so inspired by the gardens that he brought them back to life in the 80's and spent a lot of time working and relaxing within the grounds. His work now takes pride of place in the gallery areas, accompanying an incredible Berber museum and a peaceful looking cafe. Arrive early to avoid queues and wear your best outfit for this picturesque setting - there are certainly plenty of photo opportunities. 

Rue Yves Saint Laurent، Marrakesh 40090, Morocco 




The Souks


While some may say the souks are for shopping, this visual sensation was more of a source of Marrakech culture to me, one with an added bonus of very pretty interior items. You all know how I like to get lost and ultimately you can't enter the souks without doing so. Like a maze with no central location, you go in one end and find yourself on the other side three hours later, or just exactly where you started with no sense of direction at all. Glimmering lampshades, colourful ceramics and traditional tea sets line the medina and whistling, cat calling and grabbing is all but common, you just have to take it with jest and appreciate the cultures are vastly different. I'm not saying accept it, but ultimately you'll get tired of answering back just ten metres in.

One of the main things you'll be warned about before visiting Marrakech is the abundance of sellers just waiting to hustle you. While I appreciate the importance of staying weary, just politely decline any advances and never assume that someone isn't just being friendly. Many Moroccans are just looking to practise their English. My advice is to put aside the fret and go with the flow. Yes, you're likely to be ripped off at some point but will it be the end of the world? No. You'll only ever pay what you genuinely think something is worth and while that may be double what you find it for somewhere else, that haggling story will always stay in your heart. 

One of our best experiences within the souks was being taken from stall to stall, almost certainly being hustled, resulting in a private tour of the dyers market, some humorous dressing up and some incredible storytelling. It probably cost us £30 worth of objects in the end, but we had a laugh and we'll remember it forever, especially when looking at our handcrafted overpriced wares in our abode. 

Enter via Jeema el-Fnaa, Derb Chtouka, Marrakesh 40008, Morocco 

Top Tip: When haggling, mark down the market traders price by 60% and if you're not sure walk away. They will ALWAYS lower the price if they are being genuine. They will not let you walk away. 


David Bloch Gallery


David Bloch Gallery is like a taste of London within the new area of Marrakech. Completely different from its souvenir counterparts (and the Starbucks around the corner), this Gallery pays homage to contemporary design and the freshest artists in the land. I heard down the grapevine that they are also involved with lots of the street art commissions in the area. 

Open since 2010, the gallery offers a well-rounded baseline catalog of several dozen artists, both international and Moroccan, emerging and established. Post-graffiti, Conceptual and Optical Art all feature firmly throughout the year and each visit could potentially be very, very different! Well worth a trip for some contrast to a 'standard' Moroccan trip.

Rue des Vieux Marrakechis, Marrakech, Morocco

TO EAT / CHILL:


Le Jardin


A stand-out place to eat for me was Le Jardin. We nearly didn't make it for fear of getting lost in the souks on the way but miraculously another recommendation didn't quite take our fancy on arrival, and we decided the brave the winding roads in search of the green walls of Le Jardin. And green it certainly was. Botanical hues make up this rather special three-floored restaurant with greenery all around, complete with birds and a friendly resident tortoise. The interior was soothing and refreshing, as was the fresh juice and iced coffee served to us. Boy is the coffee good in Marrakech! The menu is fairly contemporary with a Moroccan twist, as are all of the restaurants in this small creative chain (keep readin' below).

I tucked into a fresh tuna Niçoise salad while the boy chowed down on a cheesy quiche concoction and some very salty chips (the really good kind). There was plenty of the more common Moroccan cuisine though with tagines and couscous a staple dish on the menu. Le Jardin is extremely vegetarian / pescatarian friendly, a very good pick for those that can't quite brave some of the more traditional restaurants for fear of simply having the meat picked out of their dish! 

32 Souk Jeld Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco 



Nomad


Nomad is a pretty special dinner retreat in the heart of the Medina. We lucked out on a walk-in spot just before sunset but I would recommend booking ahead as it does get very busy around this time. Nestled into our very own private terrace area, we watched the hive of activity in souks below, listened to the call to prayer echoing around us and dined on another tasty meal of contemporary Moroccan grub. The traditional tagine was mourish and full of flavour while the goats cheese pastella to start was spicy, with a little bit of crunch and a whole lotta goats cheese. 

Upon entry you're greeted with a magically modern tiled workspace and this fresh interior continues throughout, with a few old school additions too. Glowing lanterns sway in the warm breeze and create a magical and thoroughly more expensive atmosphere. Note that all of my restaurant recommendations are extremely well priced for the food, service and ambience on offer.

1 DERB AARJAN,RAHBA LAKDIMA، Marrakech 40000, Morocco



Café des épices


Café des épices is another sister restaurant to Nomad and Le Jardin, so we knew it would be good from the get go. I'd describe this as more of a breakfast or lunch spot, with its relaxed atmosphere and easy going interior. While there is again an amazing rooftop (it's just across he road from Nomad), I'd advise settling down in the ground floor sun and people watching the visitors to the market, the stall holders and the local regulars that seem to regularly partake in creative meetings here. 

We didn't eat here but the food looked great and very reasonably priced so I'd definitely try it on a return visit. This is the spot for a freshly squeezed orange juice or delicious mint tea, the perfect accompaniment to some morning sunbathing while taking in the sights and sounds of the souks. 

Derb Rahba Lakdima, Marrakech, Morocco


Le Grande Cafe de la Poste


We were recommended Le Grande Cafe de la Poste as a place to hit up when in the new town, even if just for a quick iced coffee. It's a little more of an expensive treat (still standard London prices) but the luxe decor and effortlessly cool clientele make it quite the hot spot for a lunch trip. 

French influences run strong in this restaurant so don't expect a traditional meal, rather one that you might find in the bistros of Paris. The boy swears down that he had the best calamari of his life, while I enjoyed a Camembert creation, all accompanied by lashings of bread. Try this as a special date night treat or if you're celebrating, you'll be made to feel like gold.

Avenue Imam Malik, Marrakech 40000, Morocco

TO SHOP:



Max & Jan


I'm not sure that shops are really destinations as such, as they're so hard to find, but Max & Jan is totally one I'd try to seek out, especially if you're nearby at Le Jardin. Nestled in the souks, this is a shop with actual selection and pricing and you just know upon entry that the curation has been carefully considered. 

From contemporary ceramics, to eclectic fashion and all of the incredible homeware choice, Max & Jan showcase upcoming Moroccan designers and creators, with a focus on bringing them to international markets. Their own cruisewear range takes pride of place in the shop and quite frankly I think this is a pretty special place to make a purchase.

de, Route Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakesh, Morocco


Norya Ayron Boutique


The Norya Ayron boutique sits within a terrace in Le Jardin (see how all these places are linked), featuring floaty designs and modern versions of traditional Moroccan dress. Think long, flowing kaftans and pretty patterned dresses. All of the designs are limited editions and therefore have the price-tag to match but are easily wearable for all the summers to come. 

Designer Norya Ayron runs the exclusive boutique, so you can meet her yourself, have a chat and learn about all of the famous celebrities she has dressed while also coo-ing over her beautiful beaded clutches and sensual jewellery. Quoting the lasdy herself, 'the brand stems from a deep desire to help women of the old city ,for them to make a decent living and eventually emancipate.' Sounds like a very decent mission!

D.S.Abdelaziz, Marrakesh, Morocco


Chabi Chic


Last on my list of places to check out in Marrakech is this tiny contemporary homeware store, Chabi Chic, just below the Nomad enterprise. Many of the gorgeous ceramics in here are cheaper than you'll pay in the souks and as you can see, there's a slightly more contemporary style when it comes to the aesthetic - predominantly coming through in stripes which can never be a bad thing! There's some European flair within the designs, but still with Moroccan culture at the heart. 

The brand also has spots in the industrial quarter of Marrakech and the highly acclaimed La Mamounia hotel, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled if you're in those areas. 

1, Derb Arjan, Place des Epices, Marrakech


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