Morocco

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.

P1120693 P1120694P1120706 P1120711P1120699 P1120690P1120698 P1120907

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.

P1120900

Dyl with the birthday girl

P1120783P1120880 P1120728

P1120894 P1120873 P1120727 P1120869P1120715 P1120881
What's going on?

What’s going on?

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.

P1120713 P1120744P1120787
DJ Ali

DJ Ali

P1120779 P1120776
The Conga, obv

The Conga, obv

P1120774
Nice moves from Auntie Carol

Nice moves from Auntie Carol

P1120753 P1120782

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.)

P1120724 P1120718 P1120717 P1120737 P1120743 P1120745 P1120792 P1120798 P1120799 P1120836 P1120837

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.

P1120839 P1120819 20131124-155835.jpgP1120832
Failing at tricks

Failing at tricks

P1120788

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.

P1120876P1120726
The fam

The fam

Liki dons his jewels

Liki dons his jewels

P1120716But 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!

P1120884 P1120714