Jan 08 2015

by Heidi Leon Monges

2014 Highlights

walk like a marrakchi

camels

There were highs and lows, like always. Yet it was a good year, but a very emotional one. I spent this year in between South of France, Marrakech, Mexico, back to France, then to Marrakech again to later fly for Hong Kong and Macau on a half biz half pleasure trip. Came back to Marrakech while still spending quelques weeks setting up our new home in La Côte Bleue. So, it took me more than usual to settle down in the Ochre City and it wasn’t until the end  of June that I was finally feeling home (but what a gorgeous, pinky, exotic city to call home, right?)

The perks of being a modern day gypsy.

Regis Monges holding a lobster

Amanda-MarocMama making cornes de gazelle

Heidi Leon Monges eating at Patisserie des princes

chatting over Carro Port Cote Bleue

Jorge Fitz from Casa Jacaranda serving clamatos

breakfast mamounia

La Mamounia Marrakech

our flat in Marrakech

Carro Cote Bleue France

moroccan breakfast

Heidi and Regis Monges 2014

2014 Favorites

Mimosas and Almond blossoms covering La Provence’s fields. Although I have visited France since like forever (ok, no, but since my husband and I started dating-living-together) but never experienced the transition from Winter to Spring in the South of France, and boy, it is a pretty thing to look at. Last year Mimosas and specially Almond blossoms bloomed quite early due to a mild Winter. Oh and the smell…

First encounter with Marrakech in February was magical but moving. I was fascinated by the beauty of this place while I was terribly overwhelmed by the chaos, noise, and disorder that reigns over here all the time. (I’ve got use now, in case you’re wondering…)

Our house by the Mediterranean sea! Just weeks before our move to Marrakech we spent our last days in France visiting the stunningly beautiful but very rustic Côte Bleue, while there we had a coup de foudre for a little house with a tropezienne style terrace (sun roof) that is located just between the port and the beach. From that day on, we have become addicted to decor magazines and spent many weekends scouting unique vintage pieces that would help us to give a special feeling to our fishermen’s town home. We also encountered zillion problems during the acquisition and arranging all the common problems of a recently built home. Anyway,  #pleasepinchme

Mexico city  with friends. Casa Jacaranda. Cuernavaca with the family.  Acapulco with my love. A good mix. Nothing  like home. Nada como mi México :)

Discover secret gardens in the Medina has become my favorite outdoors activity.  Also in the old  walled city or Medina, we stayed at a private riad. Our host was an important hotelier that found this little heaven thanks to his friend Jacques Garcia, legendary French interior designer who  has a strong presence in Marrakech and responsible of  Hotel Costes, La Mamounia and Royal Mansour to mention a few . Our riad came with a private butler and two cute dogs, Sissi and Max.

Got terribly used to silver tray room service breakies by the terrace and afternoon mint tea time at La Mamounia, the most legendary palace hotel of Morocco. A beauty.

Marseille rebelle. Toujours rebelle. I commuted to Marseille constantly this past year, which was a good thing because it allowed me to discover this multicultural city in a deeper level.

One of the advantages of living in a country where I can communicate with locals on the same level (French is the second language in Morocco, and is widely spoken), unlike Macau or Shanghai, where my Mandarin skills where taxi-and-shopping-Chinese-only, is that you build up relationships and networks much faster (also it helps tons that Moroccans are experts in the art of being hospitable), as a result of this I have learned to cook like a Moroccan: Couscous, Tagine d’Agneau, and Cornes de Gazelles cookies to mention a few. Also in the Moroccan food department, I fell in love with heavy Moroccan breakfasts and the fantastic and inexpensive street food: Mechoui  in the outskirts, Sardines kefta sandwich at the Medina, Chawarma a la Marocaine in Gueliz and avo juice to wash it down.

Thanks to this blog also, I connected with Mandy and Amanda, my two American girlfriends with whom I’ve been able to discover other worlds of the down-to-Earth expats like Mandy or the richness of multicultural families like MarocMama and her Moroccan hubby.

Ramadan. There’s so much one can learn just by witnessing others devoting to their beliefs, even if that involves fasting during unbearable hotter than hot summer. That same devotion is rivaled by the happiness of sharing the ftour (the daily break of fasting) meal with fam and friends.

We held the Crémaillèire (housewarming party) of our house-by-the-sea (we´re trying to find a suitable name for our home so I can stop calling it the house by the French Mediterranean sea because I think it sounds a bit uptight, what do you think?) in the Summer. All our close (French) friends came for a day of fish and seafood barbie, swims at the beach, lots of rosé wine and my tiraditos and ceviche were a huge success avec les frenchies.

Another highlight of my year was a trip I made to Macau and Hong Kong which was half business and half pleasure. It was incredible to go back to that region that I love so much and that was our home for four long, wonderful years. I’ve got the chance to catch up with my closest friends in Macau, and also attend my friend and blogger colleague Juliana & G’s Hong Kong wedding. Later in September, Jules and her now hubby came to Marrakech  and in October my photographer friend Daniela did the same :) #highfiveforgreatlifetimefriends

All in all, and being very honest with you, it was a very personal year. After being six months apart from my hubby in 2103 (he was working in Saudi Arabia for a while) we took the end of 2013 and pretty much half of 2014 to just reconnect in the same deep level we have being doing after all these years together. So probably I might haven’t done all of what I planned for this space on the last year, but  AnS is starting 2015 with new content (beauty tips, deco, profiles), a facelift, and a Newsletter so we can go a step further on our chit chat!, plus gifts and giveaways to thank you for your lovely support for this blog and myself. There are so many beautiful things happening in my life and blog and you guys are pretty much responsible for that. Gracias and let’s make 2015 shine!.

Love

h

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4 Comments

  1. Gorgeous photos and stunning dress! ;) Looking forward to more adventures and our creative projects fruition this 2015!!And hope that we get to see each other sometime somewhere in the year! xx

  2. Ludy says:

    Quelle année!! Les photos sont toujours aussi magnifiques et donnent tant envies de revenir dans cette partie du monde :)
    Bonne année 2015 Heidi et trop hâte de voir tout ce que tu nous réserves sur le blog <3

Aromas 'n Sabores is a collection of moments, places, cities, people and recipes that nourishes the heart and soul.