Welcome to my Blog. I will be writing about all the things I love and that inspire me, share images and interesting articles and keep you informed on all things happening at our online store - Raja and Rani.

Saturday 31 December 2011

Goodbye 2011!

Phew, what a year it's been! The best way to capture it was to create a collage of the last 12 months in the world of Raja and Rani. We've come a long way this year, from the adventure in India at the beginning of 2011, to sourcing the first collection, meeting our suppliers, creating the website, anxiously waiting for the stock to arrive, getting our products stocked in London shops, and finishing off the year with Christmas shopping events and pop up shops. 

Goodbye 2011!

We've had a fantastic year, it's been a lot of hard work but fun too, here's to a jam-packed 2012 full of new ideas, inspiration and of course new and exciting Raja and Rani products!

A special "thank you" to all our friends and family who have helped us along the way.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Merry Christmas

We are packaging up and sending off all those last minute gifts and purchases in the mad rush for Christmas!

We would like to wish all our customers, colleagues and friends that we have made along the way in starting up Raja and Rani this year, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Look out for special promotions and new products in 2012!

The Lost Music of Rajasthan

Many of India's old traditions and cultures are being lost in the race to become part of the fast moving modern world. I watched this documentary today about the dying art of traditional Rajasthani music and how a small group of people are getting involved to save the music and the musicians, before they are lost forever.

Highlights include snippets from Jodhpur RIFF 2011 (Rajasthan International Folk Festival), which attracts music lovers from all across the globe as well as famous music celebrities such as Mick Jagger.

Well worth a watch - we even spotted a few artisans in the programme that we befriended whilst on my travels in Rajasthan!

The next Jodhpur RIFF takes place between 26th - 30th October 2012.
See images from this year's event here.

Monday 28 November 2011

Had a busy weekend taking a look at the venues for this week's Raja and Rani shopping events. 

Firstly we stopped by 3 Fournier Street, the location for this weekend's The Laundry Room Pop Up. The venue look's fabulous, an Georgian townhouse right in the heart of Spitalfields. We've dropped off a selection of our vintage kantha quilts, silk scarves, shawls and embroidered cushions which will be available to buy on Saturday 3rd - Sunday 4th December.  3 Fournier Street is the location of decorative artist and designer Marianna Kennedy's space, you can see more images of this unique location in this World of Interiors article.

Notting Hill was our second stop, to see the 20th Century Theatre, the location for the Notting Hill Design Fair, starting this Thursday 1st December. Set in a prime location, we'll be there for 3 days selling our fabulous vintage collection to shoppers looking for alternative gifts this Christmas! Better get a move on selecting goodies for this one....

Saturday 26 November 2011

Notting Hill is calling…….

Lovely vintage kantha cushions

We'll be at the Notting Hill Design Fair for 3 days next week, selling our Kantha quilts, cushions, and luxurious silk scarves and shawls, all handcrafted from vintage sari fabrics. The perfect place to start shopping for your Christmas gifts!

There'll be lots of other designers there too, selling jewellery, handmade cards, hand thrown tableware, unusual children's toys and much more!

If that wasn't enough, Hummingbird Bakery and Rococo Pod have scrummy cakes and coffee on offer whilst you shop for your Christmas gifts.

Forgot shopping on the boring high street, this is going to be a lot more fun! See you there!

Notting Hill Design Fair, 20th Century Theatre: Thursday 1st December 12-8pm, Friday 2nd December 10-7pm and Saturday 3rd December 10-6pm. 

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Blog Loving

Raja and Rani drools over a number of blogs during the day and one of our favourites has to be Once Upon A Tea Time.

We were so excited for our website launch to be featured on her blog yesterday, go take a look!

Monday 21 November 2011

Raja and Rani's online store is now open!

After months of hard work, our online store is finally up and running!

Browse through our first collection of Kantha quilts, bedspreads, cushions and silk scarves and wraps, all lovingly handcrafted in Rajasthan, India, using vintage sari fabrics.

All products can be ordered online and delivered to anywhere in the UK. 

Thursday 10 November 2011

We are heading East!

For 2 days only, Raja and Rani will be featuring a selection of vintage kantha quilts, cushion covers, and silk kantha scarves and wraps at The Laundry Room Christmas Pop Up in Spitalfields.

All the collection is handcrafted from vintage sari fabrics and each item is unique – you won’t find anything else like it!

Come and browse at gorgeous jewellery, ceramics, paintings, homewares and much more in the beautiful surroundings of a Georgian townhouse.

The Laundry Room Christmas Pop Up will be at 3 Fournier Street, London, E1 6QE on Saturday 3rd – Sunday 4th December from 10am-7pm.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Raja and Rani is out and about in London!

We have ventured out this week to the lovely East Dulwich.

Our latest collection is now available to buy from ED Warehouse, a unique concept store where you will find a large range of handpicked quality products for you and your home. Products range from vintage fashion, handmade jewellery, antiques and much more. 

We are stocking a range of our vintage kantha cushions, throws and scarves at ED Warehouse, so if you’re local do pop in!

ED Warehouse can be found on 1 Zenoria Street, London, SE22 8HP
Opening hours are Tuesday – Friday 10.00am – 5.30pm, Saturday 10.00am-6.00pm and Sunday 11am-5pm.

Monday 24 October 2011

Spice Up Your Palette!

If you love Indian food as much as I do, you won't want to miss Reza, Spice Prince of India, a new show starting today on the Food Network UK TV channel.

Witness a culinary journey through Rajasthan, one of my favourite parts of India, and watch Reza cook mouth-watering dishes against the backdrop of some of  India's most regal palaces. I can't wait for this one!

Starts today, Monday 24th October, weekdays at 12 and 6.30pm.


Monday 19 September 2011

Our first Pop Up Shop!

On Saturday 1st October , Raja and Rani will be taking part in the monthly Pop-Up Emporium at the lovely Old Nun's Head pub in Nunhead, SE15.

Come along and say hello! We'll be selling goodies from our first collection of handcrafted throws, cushion covers and silk scarves. There will be a whole range of other stalls ranging from handmade goods, arts and crafts and of course, food and beer so you can chill out all afternoon!

We'll be there from 11.30am-5.00pm. Watch this space for further info as we get prepared!

Thursday 25 August 2011

Sneak Peek at the first Raja and Rani collection!

After months of designing, creating and selecting some amazing handcrafted textiles, the first Raja and Rani haul will arrive on these shores soon!

Raja and Rani’s online store will bring a number of India’s handcrafting techniques to your homes, and our first collection will showcase the rural embroidery of Kantha. Here’s a sneak preview of what’s in store…..

Vintage Kantha Quilts

Vintage Kantha Cushions

If you would like to reserve any of these one off items before they launch on the rajaandrani.co.uk website, or if you would like any further information please leave a message on our blog or Facebook page. Thanks!

Monday 11 July 2011

Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture

Running from 4th-24th July 2011, the Mayor of London presents Shubbak, the capital’s first ever celebration of contemporary culture from across the Arab World.

The programme is showcasing over seventy events in more than 30 venues throughout the city in a range of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature, architecture, lectures and discussion.

The festival will feature works by contemporary Arab artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, choreographers and architects based in London and around the world including Algeria, Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USA.

I’ve had a browse through the diary of events and there’s a few that stand out for me – 

The APART gallery in Great Malborough Street has one of their gallery spaces converted into a ‘salon’ by Moroccan artist and photographer, Hassan Hajjaj. Go on this visual journey between London and Moroccan until 20th August 2011.

Check out this year’s graduating students work ranging from wood carving, stained glass, Indian folk painting, manuscript illumination and ceramics. 

The Degree Show runs until 15th July 2011 at at The Prince's School for Traditional Arts, Charlotte Road, London.

The V&A presents a selection of works shortlisted for this year's Jameel Prize, a bi-annual £25,000 international art prize for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions of art, craft and design.
Expect to see works ranging from felt costumes to sculpture made from hand-made terracotta bricks and from mirror mosaic to digital collages. Running until 25th September 2011.

Images courtesy of Mayor of London website.

Saturday 2 July 2011

Something for the weekend – Petersham Nurseries

After a very busy week and the promise of some sunshine, this weekend we headed to the leafy London suburb of Richmond for some countryside therapy. Richmond has always been a special place for me, one of my first weekends away with my husband was at The Petersham Hotel, a gorgeous place standing on the side of Richmond Hill, overlooking the River Thames and surrounding meadows.

Our main intention for going to Richmond this time however was to get some inspiration for our new garden, so we headed to Petersham Nurseries. I’ve read so many articles and people raving on about this place and it’s Michelin starred restaurant that I needed to see it for myself! 

Set on the grounds of Petersham House, a 17th-century mansion owned by Italian banker Francesco Boglione and his Australian wife Gael, Petersham Nurseries is a shop, restaurant and café filled with an oasis of flowers, plants and unique finds.

The place definitely has an ‘English country garden’ theme to it, but amongst the lavender, herbs and hydrangeas, you’ll find an eclectic and bohemian mix of antique furniture and artwork sourced from travels to India, Sri Lanka and France as well as bamboo blinds and Balinese benches. Wander around the nursery and you’ll soon spot the elephant statues and Indian carpets and paintings on the wall.

After looking around in the greenhouses, we headed to the teahouse for lunch. We had a peek in the well known Petersham Nurseries Cafe which, even before it was recently awarded it’s Michelin star had been reviewed in practically every magazine and newspaper on the planet. Expect to book weeks ahead for a reservation in the Cafe, and you’ll probably need your credit card! To be honest, though, in my opinion, if I was dining in a Michelin starred restaurant I wouldn’t expect to sit on mismatched tables and chairs and a muddy floor in a greenhouse! (mind you, John Rocha didn’t seem to mind-we saw him in there)

The shop was a lovely place to wander around, it has a shabby chic kind of feel, with whimsical bird cages, glass vases and bowls perched next to silver guilded tea light holders, and colourful glassware on show in antique French armoires. 

After lunch, we left to walk along the cow meadows and then strolled along the River Thames before heading into town. A lovely day out for those looking for an urban oasis!

Thursday 23 June 2011

Afternoon Tea, Anyone?

Spring/Summer Collection 2011

Forget The Savoy, one of my favourite afternoon teas in London has to be Pret A Portea at The Berkeley. Here you can sip tea from Paul Smith bone china cups and indulge your sweet tooth with cakes and biscuits inspired by the season's catwalk trends.

To showcase this summer’s latest fashions, The Berkeley hotel has created an edible collection of designer treats such as Miu Miu ginger biscuit bikinis with vanilla bow icing, Victoria Beckham white chocolate summer bags and Tom Ford romantic pale pink vanilla biscuit dress with sparkly sleeves.

For some, this afternoon tea is purely reserved for special occasions (like our wedding anniversary last year!). I am still drooling thinking about the 3 tiered cake stand stacked full of designer pastries and cakes, miniature savoury skewers and delicately cut sandwiches.  And just as we’d eaten the lot, the cake stand was taken away and came back filled with even more goodies. And for those tea lovers, there’s a selection of over ten different teas such as White Peony, Organic Assam and African Amber. And champagne of course!

Spring/Summer 2010

If you don’t manage to finish everything (and I made sure I didn’t!) you can take the goodies home in a lovely mint green doggie bag.

So if you’ve looking for a treat and an afternoon to indulge in luxury, head to The Berkeley right now!

(First image courtesy of The Berkeley, all other images owned by Raja and Rani)

Sunday 15 May 2011

Indian Doors and Windows

How's your weekend going?

I've just put together my final instalment of photos highlighting doors and windows I found in Rajasthan. I just love the bright colours that some of them are painted in - it's provided me with some inspiration for my own home!

Nahagargh Fort, Jaipur
Nahagargh Fort, Jaipur

Nahagargh Fort, Jaipur

One of my favourite doors - at my grandparents house!

Saturday 14 May 2011

Knock Knock!

As promised from yesterday, here are some images of doors and windows that I snapped whilst in Rajasthan. I realised that I have lots of great pics so I'll put a few more together as a final instalment tomorrow.

Practically all of the doors appear to be very heavy duty – perhaps to protect the jewels that were adorning the walls inside the palaces or to protect against elephants attempting to barge in (which was common in the palace forts during an invasion!)

And many of the doors are green for some reason? Does anyone know why…..?

Amber Fort, Jaipur

Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur

Peering into a private doorway - Sanganer, Jaipur

City Palace, Udaipur

Saheliyon-ki-Bari Gardens, Udaipur

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Doors and Archways

My home is currently in the deep midst of renovation and whilst I’ve been searching through magazines and the internet for décor ideas, my trips to India never fail to provide a mass of inspiration. 

I love unusual doors and archways and during my recent trip to India I saw some real jems.  Whether I was wandering through royal palaces, villages or markets, the humble door and archway took on a story of it’s own…….

A key feature is the scalloped archway, which normally act as a kind of portal or frame for the view which lies beyond.

An example of this is the entrance to the Taj Mahal from the Great Gate (darwaza –i-rauza) which leads into the decorative gardens and ultimately the mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal. It was designed in such a way that it would be impossible for the Taj Mahal to be seen from any angle until you reached the main archway.  The pointed arch frames the visitor’s first glimpse of the great white monument.

Great Gate, The Taj Mahal
City Palace, Jaipur

Other key decorate features of archways include swirling pietra dura patterns, marble inlay work, inscriptions and motifs. Normally most of them have some form of religious or fable connotations. Also, I noticed archways tended to be either in single or triple forms as odd numbers are frequently used in Indian architecture. 

Doors and windows coming tomorrow….Enjoy!

Nahagarh Fort, Jaipur

Amber Fort, Jaipur

City Palace, Jaipur
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Red Fort, Agra

Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur