Monday, 7 April 2014

and the winner is . . .

et le gagnant est . . .

thanks to everyone who commented, shared, and liked
L'Art du Bain

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

wash away the blues

with the beautiful soaps made by L'art du Bain.

I was first attracted to L'art du Bain  because of their beautiful packaging and images, and since then have become a fan of the product as well.

Beautiful soaps, as far as I am concerned, fall into the same category as flowers and candles:
  life's little {affordable} luxuries that can soften the edges after a long day.
And these products and their makers tick all the right boxes
along with a passion for design,
 integrity of  production

I asked Elsa Maanaoui, one of the founders of the company a few questions  - make sure you read
 right till the end
otherwise you won't know how to put yourself in the running for the


of an L'art du Bain giftbox!

oh  - and by the way , not only is this my first giveaway,
but it is also my first bi-lingual blog attempt
 so please be forgiving as you read!

Q1: Tell us a little about yourself and who is involved in L'art du Bain?

Je m'appelle Elsa, j'ai 33 ans, j'ai passé mes 5 première
s années à Rabat avant de rentrer en France mais le Maroc n'a jamais quitté mon coeur et je suis revenue vivre à Marrakech lorsque que j'ai rencontré Youssef mon mari. Nous travaillons ensemble  lui à la vente et à la sérigraphie des packaging, moi à la savonnerie avec sa soeur ,Myriam. Ma cousine Elodie vient de rejoindre l'équipe en s'occupant de notre site en France :

My name is Elsa and I’m 33 years old – I lived in Rabat for 5 years before returning to France, but Morocco never left my heart and I returned to live in Marrakech when I met Youssef, my husband. We work together now, with Youssef focusing on the sales and the design and printing of the packaging,  while I, along with Youssefs sister Miriam, work on the soap and production. My cousin Elodie has joined the team now and takes care of our website in France :

Q2: What made you decide to create artisanale soap in Marrakech?

Quand nous nous sommes mariés, je finissais mes études en France, Youssef m'a rejoint une année mais nous savions que notre avenir serait au Maroc. Nous voulions un projet nouveau et qui nous permettrait d'être créatif. Nous avons choisi la savonnerie presque par hasard, mais comme si c'était un signe du destin dès que l'idée fut trouvée nous avons  tout de suite trouvé un savonnier qui a accepté de nous former. Nous sommes parti pour le Maroc l'été suivant, nous avons mis toutes nos affaires et notre chat dans notre voiture,  l'aventure a commencé, avec presque rien!

When we got married I was finishing my studies in France, and Youssef joined me there for a year, but we knew that our future would be in morocco. We wanted to start a new project, one that would allow us to be creative – we decided on soap almost by accident, but it felt right, like destiny, because once we had the idea we immediately found a soapmaker (savonnier) who agreed to train us.

yes . .  . this is soap!!

Q3:I love your packaging and design - it is what drew me to your product. 
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind it.

Youssef  a eu il y a quelques année un coup de foudre pour la sérigraphie , il a monté un petit atelier artisanal. Nous avons décidé de nous servir de ce savoir faire pour la savonnerie, et l'idée des zelliges nous ai venu en Espagne, en visitant la Mezquita de Cordoue, car c'est l'un des symboles du monde arabe d'hier et d'aujourd'hui, le graphisme est très actuel bien que les dessins que nous avons choisi datent pour certains de plus de 500 ans!

Youssef  has always been passionate about screen printing and so he set up a small artisanale workshop. We decided to use this knowledge for the soap  making project along with the inspiration and idea of the zelliges that we drew from visiting the Mezquita in Cordoba, which seemed right as it is a symbol of the Arab world of yesterday and of today, and the designs feel very contemporary even though some of them date back to more than 500 years!

Q4:What makes your soap special?

Nous fabriquons nos savons de A à Z, par la méthode à froid, (cold process) qui permet de travailler de matières premières de premier choix, de garder la glycérine qui se fabrique naturellement lors du processus et de faire  des savons surgras, respectueux et adaptés à notre peau.Nous les enrichissons avec tout ce que le Maroc met à notre disposition de matières naturelles, lait de chamelle, d'ânesse, huile d'argent, miel etc..

We make our soap from start to finish, using the cold process of production which allows us to work with raw materials of the finest quality  and to maintain the glycerine that is created naturally in this process,  which is gentle and nourishing for your skin. We enrich this with all the natural materials that Morocco has to offer, camel and asses milk, argon oil, honey.

Q5): What is the best part for you of creating this product?

Le découpage  des savons. Tous les savonniers vous le diront, c'est LE moment le plus incroyable qui ne nous lasse jamais!

The cutting of the soaps. All soap makers will tell you this - it is THE most amazing time that we never get tired of!

 Q6:  If people want to buy your soap where can they find it?

Nous avons une boutique à Marrakech dans la médina, nous avons un corner au concept store 33 Rue Majorelle, ainsi que la boutique de notre ami Khalil à Essaouira, dans la Scala. Pour l'Europe, nous avons notre site de vente en ligne                                                                 

We have a boutique in the medina in Marrakech, our soaps are in the concept store 33 rue Majorelle, as well as in the boutique La Scala which belongs to our friend Khalil in Essaouira. In Europe we are now selling on-line at

 Q8: and one last question  - where is your favourite place for coffee (or tea) ?

A la Terrasse des Epices en Marrakech, et pour le souvenir d'enfance, au cafe Maure des Oudaya a Rabat.

At the Terrasse des Epices in the medina of Marrakech, and on a more nostalgic note, the Cafe Maure des Oudaya in Rabat.


Elsas favourite coffee spot in Rabat: Café Maure des Oudaya.


all you have to do is 
LIKE the Art du Bain Facebook page HERE
 and, (if you haven't already)
 LIKE the tea-in-tangiers Facebook page HERE

             then answer this simple question
 as a comment below: 
(there is even a picture to make it easier for you!)

good luck
bonne chance
Elsa & Pauline

Friday, 28 March 2014

mud bricks and tea trays

During the course of my meanderings around the world wide web last week, I stumbled across these images here 
No copy or explanation was attached so I can't offer you any more of an insight or information,
other than I assume it is in morocco,
and that it appealed to me because a lot of the design elements are
 simple and true to a beldi/country home in morocco.
 From the basic building elements of mud brick and plaster through to the lanterns and silver tea trays.
So, as I was saving it to my own files for future reference, 
 I thought I would share it with you as well.  

images via

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

tea in . . . hong kong

or Le Souk in Soho to be more precise!

After a long day of temples and incense, dim sum and chopsticks
 we were a little unsure of where to rest our weary limbs . . .
but amidst all the neon of the Hong Kong night, 
the more gentle glow of lanterns drew us in
 (lighting being an important consideration at my age - overhead neon is not the most flattering!)

a little glass {or 2} of Spanish Rioja at a bar decorated with hanging teapots
soon became a relaxed and drawn out evening of goat cheese and mint, couscous and baklava
and other middle eastern flavours

and yes . .  the image is a little blurred around the edges
 as it was taken after our lovely host Hero had plied us with several more glasses of wine!

So if like us, you find yourself in Hong Kong
 (Staunton Street, SoHo to be precise)
and you feel like stepping off the sidewalk to partake in a tagine,
or need to satisfy your craving for hummus and baba ghanoush,
look no further 

 and yes, I can recommend the Rioja!

Le Souk 

it would be great if you could . . .

Thursday, 6 March 2014

why morocco

in black and white . . .


I have been sitting at my desk this week with a to-do list as long as my arm, involving flights, hotels and on-line bookings, dates and decisions . . . and at moments it has felt a little overwhelming.

I love travelling and moving about,
 but sometimes I feel like taking my rocking chair (if I had one) and finding a place where I can anchor it soundly for the rest of my days,
 while I simply read good books and drink good coffee  - and possibly the odd Moroccan mojito?


On the home front,we are in one of those murky in-between periods,
 and as I explained when I first started tea-in-tangiers,
 one of the reasons behind the blog  is my attempt to shift the balance of our lives,
 to make morocco a base and a home rather than the vacation.
 So putting it in black and white and out there for you to read helps me to focus on the end vision.
I try to make my posts visual and enticing, nothing too serious . . .
but today I decided to write this somewhat more wordy post to remind myself why we are doing this.
Why I feel so strongly that is something both I and We need to do,
and that it is a journey begun and one we need to continue
 until I am content in that rocking chair gazing at my olive trees in the countryside of northern morocco!


So, "why morocco?" I frequently get asked
That question always takes me back to a very specific moment . . .

Our first holiday as a family (I had spent months planning an epic three week trip that took us on a long triangular road trip around the country), was full of memorable moments from the madness that is Marrakech to the perfect quietness of the desert,


There was one  moment that is etched in my memory, not because it was grand or spectacular but because it felt like we had found that missing piece of the jigsaw.
First let me remind you that we were, at the time, living in the UK, amidst the green  (and damp) rolling hills of Wales and we were missing  sunshine, as well as other less quantifiable things.
 On our way out of the desert and down the coast to Assilah we were a little lost - the kind of lost when you think you are heading in the right direction but uummm not sure whether to go right or left at that stop street .  A moment of indecision as we consulted the map.
It was early evening and  there was a lot of traffic going in every direction just to confuse us more,
 when a taxi/van pulled in front of us.
 The music was loud and the doors and windows were all open as a couple of young men ran off the pavement into the traffic,and jumped onto the rear bumper in one fluid movement,
 precariously holding on to what they could where they could, to get where they needed to be.
Mark and I looked at each other and smiled . . . 
it might have been right on the northern edge, but we were back in Africa and it felt good!

So there it is , in black and white.
 The realisation that we were in a place we felt comfortable in,
 but one that was still foreign and exciting. 
Since then we have met some lovely people, seen beautiful places ( as well as some not so beautiful), eaten good food, and of course planted our olive trees.
 But quite honestly that moment is always my answer to the question
 "why morocco" 

 It just feels right
we need to remember that.

sunset at Assilah

Friday, 21 February 2014

moroccan mojitos

its friday . . . and I personally feel the  need for something a little more substantial than tea!

This image for a Moroccan Mojito caught my eye on pinterest this week, so I did a bit of detective work and followed the trail back to The Bojon Gourmet where you can find the recipe for this Moroccan interpretation of a cocktail classic . . . 

rose water, spearmint, cardamom
(and you know how I feel about cardamom!)
oh yes, not forgetting a dash of rum

have a good weekend

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

my {current} kitchen moodboard

Well, at the moment I'm thinking about kitchens  (rather than castles) in the sand  . . .

And while I am sure my time would be better spent planning plumbing and other practicalities,
 this is far more interesting!

Rather than get bogged down in the boring bits, I continue collecting images and ideas for how I want my kitchen in morocco to look.
Slowly a pattern is emerging,
 as I veer towards the dark side of things on my imaginary kitchen moodboard!


 these beautiful black tiles

it does indeed

a dash of vintage cutlery

some filtered light

and of course, candlelight

no kitchen of mine is complete without a moka pot, 
and these little cups would be perfect for our morning coffee

the natural textures of wood

which would sit comfortably next to the graphic lines of these ceramics

worn and inviting - and an eclectic mix of chairs to take a seat

and possibly for a bit of luxury, a beautiful vintage Beni Ourain
carpet tucked under the chairs.
Perfect for warming your bare feet on a winters morning 
(contact me if you like the look of this carpet, it just could be for sale!)

so a palette of browns, blacks, wood and other natural textures
 seems to be the direction of the day . . . 
what do you think?

coffee anyone?

but please remember, 
it is a womans' prerogative to change her mood{board}
as often as she pleases!

all images above and credits, unless shown otherwise, can be found here