I’ve travelled to a fair few places in the U.S., but apart from that, I’ve not ventured much outside the UK. My parents, on the other hand, are avid travellers and one of their favourite spots in recent years has been Morocco. So tonight they were kind enough to take me there – kind of.
I’m back home in Sussex for a long weekend for my mum’s birthday. Without giving away her age (21), this birthday was a big one so she wanted to throw a party (they are good at that). So a few months ago I received an invitation to ‘Kasbah Warren’.
When I arrived home on Friday night, the house was unrecognizable. I couldn’t even see which room was the kitchen. A company, Oasis Events, had spent the week decking out every nook and cranny with mustard drapes, low cushions and tables and really fantastic details – hundreds of candles, beautiful Moroccan bottles and massive bronze lamps. My dad had even made a bizarre shrine to my mum, featuring a picture of her when she was a mini model.
So earlier this evening, I painted my nails and eyes gold, donned a beautiful hot pink caftan and plaited my hair for a night of partying.
I was so impressed with the effort everyone went to with their costumes. The ladies had such exquisite beaded dresses and jewelled earrings, and the men wore crisp white jilbabs and fezzes. Everyone seemed to have really enjoyed the theme.
But it didn’t stop with our costumes and a few drapes – there was also an amazing Moroccan band and a bar serving fruity punch.
The drinks helped wash down a gorgeous menu of Moroccan snacks – chickpea fritters, spicy prawns, babaganoush, sweet potato galletes and olive pastries – and a main course of chicken and chickpea tagines, fruited couscous and tomato salads.
Later, we were served trays of almond cake bites, stuffed dates, melon salads and pomegranate Eton mess. (Yes, I was thankful for my loose kaftan.)
Afterwards, hookah pipes were placed on the low-lying tables and we grouped around them for a smoke. Our table opted for apple flavour – and some of us were better at taking it than others.
I love coming home for events like these – obviously because they’re brilliant fun, but also because I get to see lots of different people from lots of different times in our lives all in one place. And that’s always appreciated when I live so far away and can’t see these people easily. Drunken cousins, bopping uncles, former colleagues, long-time family friends and Liki all gathered in one room – and it was so much fun.
But catching up on everyone’s news and enthusing about NY meant the evening raced past in a colourful blur – the night ended far too quickly. So after a shot of Turkish coffee and a few more (increasingly blurred) photographs, everyone waved goodbye, their fezzes a little slanted.
Although I stayed in Sussex the whole night, that was pretty easy to forget – and I think this was a pretty genuine introduction to Morocco, don’t you?
Happy birthday Mummy Warren!