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.

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!