Thursday, 20 January 2011

Rajasthan in Technicolour

Our trip to the Far East has been a feast of food, colour and music, and our last leg an inspiration for Les Soeurs Anglaises in more ways than one.

A lick of paint on l'Espace......

A little light entertainment perhaps?

Some colourful herbs to add to our cooking?

A change of music style on the last night?

A few hand spun yarns for the textile workshops?

Freestyle dancing to live music on a warm evening?

And finally, the journey home?

Friday, 7 January 2011

Life As We Don't Know It

A jasmine garland presented to us on our arrival, with scent that pervaded the whole bedroom.

One of the advantages of having a "quiet period" in our workshop schedule is that it offers us the opportunity to see other parts of the world and pick up hospitality tips from the various places we stay at. We commenced our Far East extravaganza on Boxing Day this year, flying first into Bangkok

Fresh fruit for our first breakfast!

- where we stayed at the delux Peninsula Hotel for a couple of nights - then on to Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital. This is our second visit here and this time we chose a new boutique hotel, Villa Paradiso, recently opened by a charming Canadian couple, in the very centre of all that is happening here. Such a wonderfully welcoming, friendly and comfortable little oasis amidst the superficial madness that pervades the city; and which also has the advantage of a small pool to cool weary bodies after long days in the humidity.

We have had the huge privilege of spending some of our time teaching (in various capacities) at the classes run by the Cambodian Childrens Fund, the charity that we have support and give 5% of all fees generatd by participants to Les Soeurs Anglaises workshops throughout the year.

Giving a few sewing tips to a group of 12 year olds, all incredibly keen to learn...

and so bright!

The kids - and sometimes their whole families - originally worked on the rubbish tips around the city and Scot Neeson, the ex-Marketing Director of Fox Films, has given up his Hollywood lifestyle to help these people. And what an amazing job he is doing. Each time we visit we can see the quantum leaps CCF have made in helping these hugely disadvantaged people with their horrific history, yet still smiling and enthusiastic.

We took our sponsored girls for a little shopping trip to buy them some new clothes and shoes. Low on practicality, high on bling, but what can you do!

At the weekend we were given a demonstration by some of the CCF boys of the traditional Monkey Dance. The choreography was fantastic with headstands, backflips and even a little rap dancing thrown in.

Not sure Les Soeurs Anglaises can provide this standard of entertainment, but the costumes have given us a few ideas. And if we want silks to make them in, this is definitely the place.

One of the thousands of stalls at the Russian Market in Phnom Penh selling silks and cottons to die for. Some colour and pattern deas for our new bedrooms, perhaps?