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 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" 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,

Monday, 12 August 2013

I can see clearly now

Some of us live our lives filled with perpetual longing for something better, sometimes battered by discontentment. Some are lucky enough to have found a place in the sun where they feel truly happy. A place where the dramas simply melt away and the first thing spotted in a cloudy sky is a silver lining. Some people are just swept along with the flow, content with not having to swim too hard.
Who am I? 
I often wonder that myself.
When I was growing up we moved three times before I hit fourteen. First when I was six, then ten and then again at thirteen. Moving was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it probably gave me a more varied base of experiences than staying put in a small backwater village in southern Sweden ever would have been able to but it was also a curse cause it left me feeling quite rootless and like everything was just temporary. My relationships were never allowed to properly cement before it was time to haul the anchor and drift off to another place where I had to fight tooth and nail to be accepted yet again. I suppose I got used to change though cause after five years in the same place I couldn't wait to fly the nest and move away. 
I left Sweden when I was eighteen to work in Spain for a season and then I moved to Scotland where I stayed for three years. I sloped back to Sweden for a year to study English and law but soon realized that living in the old motherland felt akin to wearing a badly boil washed woolly jumper and because of that I made a speedy return to Scotland where I met Mark. In 1997 I  lived and worked in Malmo in Sweden, Onich in The Scottish Highlands, Cambridge, Wisbech, London and then back to The Highlands for a short stint in Fort William before returning to London again. I lived my life out of a 90 liter backpack and anything I couldn't carry when it was time to move again was left behind. It was a liberating feeling not to be locked down by possessions and to be able to just pack up and leave at a drop of a hat.
We spent all of 1998 in London but still managed to move three times within the city that year.
Then in 1999 we moved up to Ballachulish to look after mum's house while she went off to be a Buddhist nun for a year and after she got back home Mark and I hitched to Barcelona for a summer of busking on La Ramblas. In early September we got a bus back to London, worked in a pub in Balham for a few months, saw in the new millennium with my sister in Copenhagen before moving to Glasgow.
We stayed there for one year before yet again returning to London and then out of the blue all the toing and froing came to an end. It happened on a December day in 2001 when we walked passed a estate agents. A rental notice in the window really grabbed my attention cause it said really wonderful things like "spacious rooms, plenty of storage, large balcony and nearby park" all of which really appealed to me, so we arranged a viewing and a week later we had moved in. Twelve years on we are still here but not for much longer cause change is afoot.
I never in a million years thought I'd stay somewhere for twelve years but I guess that I'd finally found a place where I was happy to sprout a root and my normal "ants in her pants" tendencies where replaced by "albatross adoration". Each year every room became a little more cramped with stuff until one day we were no longer able to just up sticks and move. Sure it's nice to come home to a familiar setting sometimes, flick the kettle on and see that well entrenched butt groove on the sofa where I have been perched year in and year out for what now seems like an eternity but equally sometimes the longing for those freewheeling vagabond days of my youth make me want to cry when faced with all this staid familiarity.
The anchor is no longer making me feel safe, it's making me feel chained down and all the stuff that I once regarded so highly is suffocating me.
Don't get me wrong I still love my frocks but over the past few years I've realized that there is something I love even more and that is excitement, adventure and really wild things! Right now living in London with a house full of frocks there is very little of that variety forthcoming. I want to be able to don a backpack, travel the world, work as a divemaster (although I'd have to become one first) & do marine conservation volunteering. I want to feel like my life has got substance and meaning. It has been ho-hum for too frigging long. Change is where I want to be!
Sheer 70s Hippie frock, satin slip,  suede waistcoat, Buffalo clogs, odd earrings, sunnies and Tibetan prayer bangle.
Just in case you've been wondering what I've been up to since I last blogged...
We've started making that change happen by selling off my vast stash of clobber at The Princess May Car Boot Sale. We'll be there every Saturday and Sunday for the foreseeable future. It will take a little while but we are bashing away at that hoard like nobody's business and making good progress so far.

Here's Jimmy Cliff to sing us out, enjoy :)
Hope you've all been doing well.
Lots of love,