Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Like a bat out of hell another month goes by

I can't believe it is March already, time is speeding past like Jay Kay in a Koeningsegg One:1.
At least it is speeding towards lighter and warmer times.
Today I've been busy adding more stock to the Frocktasia etsy shop. My target is two hundred items before the end of the month, so I've got a few days of hardcore work still ahead of me. I'm trying to coordinate my online selling activities in with my market outings, so any stock that is featured in a market preview and doesn't sell on the day can go straight onto etsy. So I'm having plenty of photo session with Barbara before the markets and then getting stuck into editing, taking measurement, writing descriptions and finally bringing it all together into a listing after. Online selling is a whole heap of work but it is also were you reach the largest number of potential customers, so it simply has to be done.
I would love to be able to survive on doing markets alone but it's just not feasible, especially since I don't have my own transport & even if I did, I'd have to learn how to drive it first.
Speaking of markets, last Sunday we were back at the fabulous Little Birds Market at Sloans...
Frocktasia's stall at Little Birds Market.
Mark and I absolutely adore this market. It is very easy for us to get to in the morning, (just a five minute walk to the station then a twenty minute train ride and another five minute walk) when you are weighed down like a Himalayan Sherpa, stuff like that really matters. Sloans is situated slap bang in the middle of Glasgow and the Little Birds team headed by the very lovely Vicki work their tail-ends off to get people through the doors. We had some fabulous customers on Sunday. My heart always skips a beat when someone comes back from the powder room with a smile on their face, hands over the garment and goes " Can I have that please"...I love it!
We had Curtise's identical frock twin on our rail on the day , it didn't sell so it will be joining the other frocks over in my etsy shop.
We shared The Snug room with the lovely Palma and her fabulous Blithe Spirit Jewellery again...
A couple of weeks ago we were at another market called Granny Would Be Proud and there we were delighted to meet the gorgeous Jenni of Retro Rainbow Vintage, a fellow vintage lover and trader based near Glasgow. Jenni started selling vintage online when she fell pregnant five years ago and haven't looked back since. She runs a very successful eBay store and does the rounds on the Glasgow market and fair scene. On Saturday we are both doing Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair held at Glasgow University Union and Jenni, being the very experienced & professional seller she is, has already posted her preview folder on the events page. I on the other hand have only half-arsed sorted my stock out. I'm sure I'll get up to speed at some point in the hopefully not too distant future. At the moment it pretty much nonstop GO GO GO! 
Jenni and her rail vintage fabulousness. On the day she was wearing the most exquisite blouse by Gunne Sax, she has an expert eye for a stunning vintage garment this girl.
I fell in love with these fab dolls by Oscar Cat Creations...
This was me on Sunday morning en route to Little Birds wearing the same old dress that I wore to our first ever Dandy Lion Market a year ago.
I'm looking very anemic, bring on the spring sun!
Leslie is doing a special Mother Appeal fundraising edition of The Dandy in partnership with Oxfam on the 22nd of March, so if you happen to be in London that day do pop along,  I can highly recommend a visit. 
Tomorrow Mark and I are heading up to the storage unit to pick up some fresh threads for Judy's on Saturday and then I'll be flat out prepping for the event, I am so looking forward to it.

Hope you are all doing grand folks.
I'll love you and leave you with the amazingly talented Meat Loaf...
Loads of love,

Friday, 14 February 2014

Frocktasia Towers

I promised in a previous post that I'd give you a tour around our wee abode and today I finally got round to taking some pics. These past few weeks I've been very busy with market preparations and writing my business plan. Starting my own business was never really a doable thing when we were living in London. I did try but the horrendously steep living costs were too much of a prohibitive factor. Any attempts came to an abrupt end as soon as rent day loomed.  It was never going to happen in London but I think Glasgow might be just the ticket. 

Last Sunday Frocktasia made a splash at the lovely Little Birds Market & on the 23rd of this month we're testing out Granny Would Be Proud. I was so impressed with Little Birds so I've already booked a stall for the March event and we'll also be doing a turn at Glasgow's Affordable Vintage Fair on the 15th of next month.

I thank my lucky stars that Mark spotted that Can't Buy Me Love poster  last year and then gently twisted my arm into doing it, that initial plunge was a game changer. Meeting Leslie was another pivotal moment and exhibiting at The Dandy Lion Market boosted my confidence no end. I'm chuffed to bits how things have turned out.

Right I stop harping on and show you our pad. It is tiny compared to what we left behind in London but then again we are not paying £1000 per month any more. Much like our last flat this one is a bloody fridge but thankfully we are getting some insulation put in at the end of this month. Hopefully that will mean, no more wearing all your outdoors clothing indoors, fingers crossed.

Here's our home...
Hallway featuring Iggy the plastic iguana.
This house gave me good vibes from the first moment I stepped in the door.
I love all the wood paneling, it makes me think of cosy ski chalets in the Alps.
The bedroom is also Mark's playroom. Our beloved plants seem to dig the house too.
This is my playroom or should that be Barbara's room perhaps?! We have a storage unit that is the same size as this room that holds my vast collection of clobber. I am so glad it's not kept in the house anymore.
In our last flat we didn't have a shower so for twelve years I was a bath girl but this tub is tiny so I'm fast becoming a shower convert.
My mum sent me this cute cross-stitch to keep above the toilet. It reads "You can sit here in your own thoughts until somebody else comes knocking"... in Swedish it rhymes.
Our wee tiny micro kitchen. This was the hardest thing to get used to. The kitchen in our last flat had a huge couch in it, loads of cupboard space and the door that led out to our beloved balcony and our gorgeous pigeon friends. It's definitely not a kitchen for a cooking enthusiast that's for sure. I'm learning to live with it but I will never love it.
So there you go, you've now seen Frocktasia Towers. We do have a small garden with a shed too but it's too bleeding freezing to go outside today so that'll have to wait until a sunny day. We do get a lot of garden birds which is lovely and there are three pigeons that come regularly. A couple that we've named Laurél and Hardy and a white speckled one that we call Motley.

To finish off just a little medley of pics from last week...
I made a handcuff belt from a 50p set of furry love cuffs, I also bought two new wigs on eBay and took delivery of Frocktasia's new business cards and rubber stamp from Vistaprint.
It's amazing how happy a rubber stamp can make a person, I felt like I was five years old playing post office again.
Our stall at Little Birds Market at Sloans. We shared the fabulous Snug Room with  Blithe Spirit vintage jewellery stall run by the very lovely Palma.

That's all for this time folks, hope you are all doing well & keeping warm.
Loads of love,

Sunday, 26 January 2014


As it is Burns Night we were going to have veggie haggis , neeps and tatties for tea but when I went to turn the light on in the kitchen the blasted striplight blew. I didn't fancy cooking by candle light so instead we traipsed off to the pub to have our din-dins. I've really started enjoying going to pubs again. In London you'd get very little change back on a tenner for two pints but at our local watering hole a pint of ale is a mere one pound fifty. Complete and utter pie-eyedness is well achievable for less than a twenty spot. I think Rabbie Burns would have approved.
Faux-fur trim PVC coat (local discount fashion shop)
Fluffy snood (99p Stores)
70s crepe and lace blouse (market)
90s Harris Tweed tartan shorts (market)
Plain & lace layered tights (charity shop & Aldi)
Doc Marten boots (car boot sale)
Last Thursday Mark and I spent three hours at the storage unit picking out an array of fabulous garments that will be gracing our rail at the Little Birds Market on Sunday the 9th of February. 
I also designed a new logo for Frocktasia and ordered some new business cards from Vistaprint.
We are both getting very excited about our launch into the Glasgow vintage market scene. I'll definitely do a "sneaky-peek post" as per usual but it won't be until a few days before the market. 
I've also started selling on Asos Marketplace. So far I've only added a few items and it's all stuff that I already had photos and descriptions for. As a wardrobe shop you are allowed to add up to a hundred items for free and Asos only take a 5% commission on sold items. I was just getting a bit fed up with eBay and fancied trying something different, we'll see how it goes.
It's been a busy and productive week. I'm feeling very upbeat and excited about the future. Life is good!
On our way back home from the pub we stopped off at Aldi's to stock up on some more drinkies. At a bargain £1.35 a pop...I don't mind if I do, thank you very much!
Hope you are all having a fantastic weekend.
Loads of love,

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Fifteen minutes of frock fame

Mark and I took some time-out after moving. We needed it, the process had made big demands on us, both emotionally and physically. Thankfully we were able to take our time over things. 
When we first moved up we went straight into hyper-drive trying to find a flat. 
I'd trawl the net in the evening, Mark would arrange viewings in the morning and then off we would go traversing Glasgow, on the hunt for our new home. 
Our budget was quite low so the quality of what was on offer was very often hugely disappointing. 
Damp damaged buildings with signs reading 'No Loitering' nailed up above the entrance. A plethora of claustrophobic boltholes, riddled with mold, ripped woodchip & stained carpets.
After three stressful weeks we finally found a place that we could see ourselves in, it's not quite the five bedroom Victorian  townhouse that I cosmically ordered but it's definitely the cream of the crop in our budget category.
I will give you a tour of the house at some point, just need to don a pair of marigolds first and get it up to Hello Magazine standard.

Over the past few days the wheels of productivity have slowly started turning again.
We've booked a market for Frocktasia's relaunch on the 9th of February . It is called Little Birds Market and it is a monthly do held at an amazing venue here in Glasgow called Sloanes.
We've applied for a stall at another market called Granny Would Be Proud but it's yet to be confirmed. Today Mark and I took a little research trip to check out Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair that was in Glasgow for the day and both of us agreed that it would be a great one to get in about next time it is in town.
So it's back in the saddle for me and to be honest, after all this "time-off" I'm feeling well and truly up for it.

In my last post I promised that I'd share the pics that Mark and I took on our micro roadtrip to Largs. I played around with them on PicMonkey (that I still use religiously). As a complete Jennie Pinchpenny I still haven't upgraded to Royal but I have to confess, that of late I have been sorely tempted. For some reason the wretched skin under my eyes has decided to not just puff  but also wrinkle up and some days it looks as if I've super glued skincoloured  raisins underneath my eyes. I feel the need for some PicMonkey surgery. Are any of you lovely peeps using PicMonkey Royal and if so what do you think of it?

Anyroad the pics...these were taken en route from Largs to Greenock by the Firth of Clyde in North Ayrshire. We shot two frocks, the first one is an Indian dress that I picked up from Holloway market a few years ago and the second is a stunning 70s Jean Varon frock that I scored at a car boot sale last year.

Hope you liked them? We are hoping to do plenty more of these wee photo sessions in the future. There are so many stunning backdrops to take advantage of  nearby to us and so many frocks yearning for their fifteen minutes of fame here on the blog.

Hope you are having a lovely weekend.
Loads of love,

Friday, 10 January 2014

Costa del cloud

Surprised to see me back so soon? 
I did promise to blog a bit more frequently, didn't I?! 
So here I am with my second blog offering of the year which (I hasten to add) will be significantly shorter than the last one (sigh of relief ).

Firstly I'd like to say thank you to the awesome peeps that took the time to leave such lovely comments on my last post, you all gave me a real shot in the arm after my extended hiatus. To be honest I hadn't planned to take such a long break from blogging but our move saw one week seamlessly glide into the next and before I knew it almost five months had gone by....it happens, that's life! Any road it is very heartwarming to feel welcomed back after a long break and it makes me feel even more excited about getting back into the saddle.

This week we borrowed a relatives's car while she's away working in London and we've been making good use of it. On Monday we swung past IKEA for their sale, on Wednesday we did a quick restock run to the storage place where we now keep the majority of our clobber and yesterday we drove out to the coast to snap some pics.

We stopped off in Largs for a poke of chips that we shared with the gulls...
According to Wikipedia (and my mother-in-law) Largs is a popular seaside resort on the Firth of Clyde in North Ayrshire, roughly 33 miles from Glasgow.
Like so many of our beloved British seaside gems it is probably much more exciting when visited during the summer months, yesterday it displayed a definite vibe of hibernation.
It made me think of a ' The Lightening Seeds' song called 'Sense', there is a line that goes "Feels like I'm living in a town closed down for winter"...it felt a bit like that.
Hanging out with the gulls on the shore, was definitely where it was at!
Yesterday was the first day in ages that it wasn't pissing down or blowing a hoolie, so I made sure that I was out of bed before noon so that we could go for a spin. We'd planned to have a photo session up in the Highlands over Christmas but severe dreich weather conditions scuppered those plans. Despite it being a wee bit nippy yesterday we still managed to shoot a couple of frocks with the stunning Firth of Clyde as a backdrop. I'll share this little photo session in the next post as I've yet to edit most of the pics.

We took some fannying about pics too...
Mark wore his favourite Pachamama top that I bought for him at the Holloway car boot sale.
My get-up:
Vintage 60s psychedelic print dress
Plain and net layered  tights
Faux-fur trimmed PVC coat
DM boots
Frocktasia bag
Necklace bought in Greece
Retro sunnies
No doubt we'll return to Largs in the summertime, perhaps even daring to bring a couple of beach towels, who knows?! 
Hope your weekend has got off to a fabulous start peeps.
Have a good one :)
I'll leave you with that tune that was spinning through my head yesterday...
Loads of love,

Monday, 6 January 2014

A year of change and challenges

It's been almost five months since I last blogged and in that time I have slain an albatross and moved cities.

Back in July our landlord of twelve years announced that they were putting the rent up to bring it in line with the local going rate. Although it was annoyingly untimely, as we had just saved up enough money to do our Rescue Diver Course with Dive Wimbledon, it was something that we had anticipated happening for quite some time. 
In all the years we'd only ever had one rent hike and that was back in 2006, so I guess one could argue that it was long overdue. However after fourteen years of slogging away just to pay the rent and bills in London, Mark and I decided that enough was enough, it was time to go. I felt surprisingly ready for it and Mark felt more than ready to move on.
Anyone who is familiar with my blog offerings will know that we had our work cut out with the move. 
Years and years of  religiously attending car boot sales and scouring charity shops for treasure and then squirreling it all away,  cramming and jamming stuff into every available nook and cranny in our abode.
Shifting the trash and packing treasure (not to mention deciding which was which) was a task of epic proportions. We worked like mean machines for three months to get it all done.
Six weekends of hardcore selling at the Princess May car boot sale, several motherloads of clobber, books and bits on eBay, two council collections of bulky goods, umpteen trips to the local charity shops with donations and equally as many trips to the clothing & textile recycling bank.
We got rid of heaps of stuff and I feel tremendously happy about that :)

The move took place over three weekends, we hired a big van, drove up to Glasgow overnight, off loaded the gear into storage and back down again. 
We left the flat in Finsbury Park for the last time on the 18th of October, then we stayed with a wonderful friend here in Glasgow until we found our new gaff.

 We are slowly getting settled in, reconnecting with old friends and finding new stomping grounds for ourselves.
2013 was a year of change and challenges for us, 2014 will be a year of building a solid foundation and making a new life here in Scotland, I'm looking forward to it.

....and I will be a certified rescue diver before this year is over!!!

Now for a massive medley of pics, some of my memorable moments, people and places of 2013 :)
The year was brought in with a bang on Koh Lanta in Thailand before we headed off to beautiful Langkawi in Malaysia for a week.
Langkawi - January 2013
Langkawi - January 2013
We visited Mark's cousin who works on the 42nd floor of Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and took in a few of the cities temples before returning to a snow clad London. I also managed to bag my EFR certificate last year in readiness for the Rescue Diver Course that never came to pass...GRRRRRRRRRRR!
It was fab to have snow in London :)
Lilo the beautiful little Canada Goose that we became very attached to.
The park became our second home last year. Every day we would go up to the pond (aka Finsbury Park boating lake) and feed our feathered friends.
Seed in the winter and fresh grass in the summer.
It was lovely to see the little babies grow :)
In February we took Frocktasia on the road for the very first time, selling our threads at the Can't Buy Me Love Vintage Jumble at The Boogaloo. This is were we first met Leslie and found out about her fabulous Dandy Lion Market, that also became a staple in the Frocktasia selling calender.
We met so many lovely people through doing the markets last year. Leslie was incredibly supportive and made my transition from on-line to face-to-face sales a delight. She's a true inspiration!
I miss not being able to take part in The Dandy Lion Market, so many fab & talented creative folk. If you happen to be in London on Saturday the 11th this month there's a DLM Vintage & Rummage Sale on for you to go to, fabulous!
More pics from the Dandy and two from the car booting marathon we did in the run up to the big move.
I met Sam from Tangled Wigs at one of the Dandies and when she asked if I wanted to rock up with a rail at a Wig Wednesday event that she was organizing I didn't hesitate a second. The proceeds went to the brilliant CLIC Sargent children's cancer charity.
Here's some other fabulous and talented folk that I met this year. Michael Palmer of Super Full Moon, Faith Taylor who I did a wee photo session with and Leslie's lovely son Erik Rutterford.
Mike invited Leslie & I to set up a wee vintage market at his fabulous Mini Festival at The Finsbury. Unfortunately I only got to do one of them before I had to divert all my efforts to organizing the move.
More fabby peeps that I had the pleasure to meet in 2013...Samantha from Tangled Wigs, Natasha, Camilla from Mind The Book and the very lovely Sara from Hello The Mushroom. Sara came to our first ever outing at CBML and bought this redilicious ra-ra frock :)
I feel so blessed that our last year in London was a thoroughly awesome one, talk about ending on a high note.
In June we went to Sue's 60th, which was the best party night of the year by far. Sue and Mark are truly lovely people.
The delightful Joellen of Joyatri's Adventures In Vintage hooked up with me a few times when she was over in London and we did some fun stuff together :)
Easter was spent in a very freezing Edinburgh. My sister popped over from Sweden and we had a few lovely days together. Mark bought a trusty new two-wheeled steed, beats a chocolate egg any day.
In June I had a reunion. A dear friend of mine from my school days came and stayed for a long weekend. Lots of  wine, reminiscing and laughter. I hope we can arrange another meet-up this year. Zandra's husband is one of Sweden's most highly rated tattooists and they own a studio called Heavenly Ink and my husband is gagging for more ink.
End of April saw another trip up to Scotland for mum's 70th and we took the opportunity to sneak in a couple of photo sessions while we were there.
More wine (or in my case Fraoch), reminiscing and laughter.
Like I mentioned before last year the park became our second home. I'd have the cooler bag primed with goodies and ready to go for when Mark returned from work and off we'd traipse via the pond to a nice spot to dine al fresco and laze about in the sun.
Staple diet: lots of raw stuff, marks home-made bean dips, fruit and the odd bit of pasta or cooked veggies.
We ate like vegetarian kings so we did!
Also in July more parky malarkey with Marky, a days diving at Wraysbury, we went to see two of my former workmates act in a play at the Southwark Playhouse.
We made some very special pidgy friends over the summer. Pipkin (top left) had had a close encounter with a fox or a cat and was missing all his rear feathers and couldn't use one leg when he came to us but with some TLC and plenty of sunflower seeds (his favourite) he soon made a full recovery. Squeeker (top right) liked to sneak into the kitchen when nobody was looking and would sit and squeak outside the door until he got someones attention and a handful of seeds. Speckled Jim (bottom left) is an endurance tippler pigeon that had come from someone in Birmingham, he landed on our balcony at the end of August and integrated himself with the flock. We tried to re-home him but didn't have much luck with that .By the time we left London he seemed to have fully established himself within the group. Scraggle (bottom right) would sit on the balcony ledge and make noises until someone would come and hand feed him, he was the bravest of the lot.
I really miss my pigeon friends.
What will I miss about London? The awesome people I am privileged to call my friends, the fabulous balcony overlooking overgrown gardens with the occasional fox sighting, the park and pond, some amazing sunsets from my home-office and all the lovely birds.
In the midst of moving, that mountain of books behind me all went to charity shops...that was a back breaking few days I can tell you!
Bye, Bye London...Hello Glasgow!
Mark is not so much an emigrant as a returning lost son of the old country and just in time for this years Scottish Independence Referendum...lets toast that with a skinful of Bucky.
The lovely Antonia that so very kindly put us up for our first three weeks in Glasvegas. Here we are enjoying her friends belly-dancing show at a Egyptian restaurant on Halloween. A wee pic of our new house, complete with kitschy roaring faux-fire :)
I chummed Antonia to her hometown of  Dumfries to see her mother and friends do some choral singing, they were brilliant.
A couple of weeks later we went back down to the borders to fetch Mark's mother after her stay at Kagyu Samye Ling, Tibetan Buddhist Centre.
We hooked up with Dave and Allen that we used to be in a band with last time we lived in Glasgow back in 2000...much beer and a wee living room jam at Al's house. Will hopefully do more of that this year :)
This is our new street, we live in a two bed upper cottage flat with a wee garden with a shed. Flat hunting almost did me in, there was so much absolute garbage out there but I think we landed on our feet. Our new pad is close to the great outdoors, it's quiet and the neighbours are nice. It's a lot smaller than what we left behind but it's also £500 cheaper than what we paid in London. 
Our beloved houseplants made the move with us and I am happy to say they are thriving in their new home, we'll have to get them some bigger pots again soon. Mark and I bought our two Yuccas a little brother for their Christmas...Bonkers? N'ah, in my world that is perfectly normal!
That was our 2013, a bonkers, busy & brilliant year, can't wait to see how 2014 unfolds.

We are planning to get back in the saddle with the markets this month and hopefully hook up with a diving club here in Glasgow too. I can't wait to get back into the water and try out my new Scubapro dry suit that Mark got for my Christmas.

I'll endevour to blog a wee bit more often from now on. Mark and I are planning to do some more Frocktasia photo-sessions set in the surrounding woodlands but we're just waiting for a day without blustery gale force winds or stabbing dagger rain.

If you've made it this far, well done you :)

I will love you and leave you with a wee link to a flickr set that I made of all my 2013 get-ups.
I think I did alright until July and then it just spiraled downwards into a pit of "not pic worthy" outfits, as I spent a good few months sorting and packing away in comfy cut-offs and scraggly tops.

Hope you are all well and happy.
I wish you all the best for 2014.

Loads of love,