cooking better, eating well, living more


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one life | many adventures 


We’ve been the demanding customer and the luxury hospitality provider. We’ve seen the foodie world from both sides.

High-end customer service has always been at the heart of everything we do… and we always like to go further than the rest. ( gastro mk, our restaurant at maison mk our Marrakech boutique hotel, was consistently voted No. 1 on Tripadvisor for over eight years ! )

We are hugely grateful for all the awards, accolades and kind reviews but our new adventure came as we started to simplify life to the maximum. 

We still love working many hours every single day, but, we have created time and space so that we can also put LIVING first. This brings a huge sense of freedom, and so much fun again back in our lives.

We want the same for you…


selfie picture of Paul and Aoibheann Hopkins, owners of

 Here we are… a self conscious little selfie as we leave our home of 25 years.  Moving out of our comfort zone in more ways than one ! We’re more used to being behind the scenes, but on this adventure, we promise we will push ourselves out there more too.

brave steps to move on… goodbye mk

( 2020 news: maison mk is officially sold… but there’s no singing yet ! )

This adventure

This new adventure is to LIVE, and love life first. That looks a bit crazy if we read that back to ourselves ! Isn’t that what we’re all doing anyway? NO ! That’s the point.

We’ve had our professional career lives, then we’ve risen to the top of the professsional photography world, the boutique hotel, and niche restaurant world. We have always been achievers, loving making dreams come true for our clients. This time, we mustn’t forget to live the dream too !

We’re not finished yet though, and love a challenge.

So, whilst trying to help everyone, we are trying, in our own little way to live a simple and balanced lifestyle. Seeing as it’s about food and life as we live it, this means that we are literally now living to work !

The simple life

We didn’t want this adventure to be prescribed, so we needed space to put life first. Over a few years, we tried the simple life, living in smaller rented accommodation (to be fair, it was in the sun so we didn’t need much). Then, we took the plunge and simplified to the max…. seriously ! We gave up almost everything ( our livliehood, our home, and almost all our possessions ).  We had a vision of leaving with just two suitcases, and we did it ( plus some boxes tucked away in a few attics ! )

We kept the good stuff… family and friends.

When we make a decision, it has come well considered, and we never look back. We’ll talk about our previous adventures at some point, and the contrasts that led to this decision.

Gradually simplifying our business, our home, our purpose, our life has given us the space to make it even bigger and better. We love change, and contrasts, and our journey has evolved,  through our own simple and best living practice. We are living part of the year on a houseboat on the canals of Amsterdam, and part working in the shady outdoors on our sunny breezy favourite Canary island. We are the happiest ever !


What’s stopping you ? 

As we started to simplify, we became more aware.  We could see, with some sadness, how lucky we were to do this, as it wasn’t possible for everyone. We made our change quietly, yet dramatically.

But, most people don’t get to, or even allow themselves to do this.  Why ?  It feels like the world seems too pre-occupied, too busy, doing and achieving, to enjoy living. There’s a lot of nesting and gathering and planning for the future, a lot of nostalgia or regret for the past. There seems to be so much stress and not enough time for people to see life for what it is, and to live it in the best way, today, right now. We have ourselves fallen foul of that along the way… for sure, and we kept trying to re-balance. It’s always on our mind – balance, and the now!

One of the culprits we feel is that in our developed world we are all spoiled with so many choices available. Far too many ! How on earth do people decide on anything? The answer…  is also usually down to very clever marketing and sales. Marketing by the manufacturers, and by the suppliers, and the media, and the information providers.

So. Is the internet just one big pot of misinformation and marketing ? We’ve seen things from all sides now, and you know… the people doing the marketing and sales don’t usually have much time to get their work done, not alone have time to live either ! So most things are rushed, many shortcuts are taken, mistakes are made, and not many have time to stop, and care. 

There is so much photographic talent out there too – thank-you to Caju Gomes and Unsplash for this watermelon smile picture.

Smile !

  1. We’ll do the HARD WORK researching, resourcing, learning and experiencing
  2. We’ll share the INSPIRATIONS to get you active (tips, techniques, stories, ingredients, useful equipment, recipes)
  3. You reap the REWARDS and LIVE WELL too.

We want to help you live well too,  so we are helping with steps 1 and 2.

The rest ( no. 3) is up to you … to receive :))))


We want to help you feel great !

We’ve loved showing people their beauty by making special portraits, and making them feel all gooey from exotic experiences and food at maison mk. Opening peoples senses so they could experience life as it could be lived.  It was always the little things that mattered more, and our style was that we always had to keep going much further than anyone else ! This is us !

So we’re thinking… how can we genuinely make a difference with what we are doing here ? How can we help you to still get those feelings for yourself. What little things can we do to help you find your own  happiest days too.   And, still be able to live our own best life. 

We care about the end user, crikey we are the end user. Now we have time, and food and cooking are still a main focus of our living, we turned our attention to the detail online. We didn’t like what we found. As we delved deeper, we realised that biassed mis-informed marketing was distracting… even stealing our precious time.   So we started to simplify that too.

Now we’re learning the digital skills we need to blog and reach out to you to tell you what we find. We’ve always preferred to be behind the scenes working hard, and a little camera shy. But we decided to try to push out of our comfort zone and speak up !

In little ways, we hope we can make a big difference.  In the end, we want to help you make better decisions faster, and give you the right information that will help you make cooking an easy part of your lifestyle too. 

From home cooking to restaurant level – in your home ?

Whilst we actually want you to have great old fashioned home made food, we also want you to have the best nutritional food, and great restaurant level food too. There’s a lot you can do with good information,  some tips and techniques, and great equipment.

So it all starts with the right ingredients and equipment and knowledge. 

We want you to experience great food, and have time to enjoy it. There are so many people out there already blogging great recipes and meal plans and nutritional information. We’ll find them for you too!

We will show you simply the best kitchen tools.

From tiny and powerful, to manual to high tech. that we think will help you on this journey. So we’ve started… one hand blender, coffee machine, and sous vide tool at a time !

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A little about the food and drink we love…


Together, we love eating the simple, the innovative, the top quality, the authentic, the re-invented, the contrasts… and as much healthytarian as we can handle. Experiencing genuine service, honesty, and the best of the best matters most to us.

We’re both very different though in the way we tackle food and cooking ! Aoibheann would be more cooky ( some might say Kooky), is interested mostly in the ingredients and their benefits, loves to experiment with herbs, spices and flavours, and putting a dish together has to be simple and meaningful !  She also loves jumping in and making new discoveries. For Paul, we’d say he’s more cheffy. He likes to impress ! He doesn’t care if it takes 25 precise steps over 3 days to make it – and practice makes perfect.  The more complex the dish the better… if it’s going to make it the best in the world. 

So, Aoibheann would want to make the perfect egg, simply. Paul however would like to also gold plate it !  Aoibheann likes to match wine with her food, Paul makes a cool cocktail. This week they both made a chocolate dessert… Aoibheann wants it to contain the healthiest ingredients ( avocado, agave syrup, cashew butter, raw cacao) and a simple method to making a mousse ( with a hand blender !)… she tops it off  by using up the leftover strawberries – macerates them with something new !  Paul decides on ice-cream, looking first at the richness and complexity… and it has to be the best one ever made.  He got the special ingredients,  made a custard first to use as the base, then a tried and tested method for the best ice cream ( with our small commercial ice cream maker with freezer built in ).

It’s the contrasts in who we are, as well as having the same core beliefs, that makes us a great team.


How it’s working out for us…

 fromcooktochef works well for us as our life revolves around food and cooking anyway. We’re a team now for over 30 years, and we are so different in our approaches to food, cooking and work, so we just naturally settle into our roles on each adventure.

Doing everything nomadically and online brings its own challenges, and as well as finding our natural roles, we try to make sure we get out of our comfort zone too. Who’s the cook and who’s the boss ?

Aoibheann… the over-caring dreamer and doer, can’t stop researching the truths about kitchen tools out there… like a dog with a bone, to get the best information to you. Her new role as the hand blender queen is taking her to the dizzy heights in google searches, so don’t try to hide yours if she visits. She will sniff it out and after examining it closely, will help you use it !

Paul… as well as his natural bent for design, and stylish cooking, he has an amazing talent for keeping the team grounded, and in balance. ” Funny Uncle Paul ” he’s known as in the family! His superb quality control and kaizan approach is still king as he surfs the keyboard.  He really is the coffee-maker king, and molecularly ( is that a word ?) talented ! His professional background is computerised finance so for now, online digital marketing analysis is the new toy he won’t let go of !

Our daily activity apart from keyboard work is exercising, meditating, enjoying the elements, and playing…with our food mostly ! Discovering and organising ingredients, making cooking easy, and enjoying the pleasure of eating and drinking. We’re noticing though how easy it is to get out of balance so it’s not perfect !

We have to re-adjust a lot though when we travel abroad… or when health suffers. (We are getting more sensitive as we tune in to our own needs ! ).  One thing that never changes is that we are always learning, and cooking more, and trying to live better each and every day.

We laugh more ( and louder! ), we live well… and have time to feel lighter about everything again.

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