Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Travelling through threads

I’ve had the black velour jumpsuit that I’m wearing today for over twenty years.
All throughout my teens my mum would let me order a few bits from the mail-order catalogue each season.
What would usually happen is that I would scope out the things that I fancied & then hang on until the sale to get more bang for my buck or kit for my krona as it were.
Invariably the things that I’d chosen ended up in the sale, perhaps cause I would usually favour the more impractical & ostentatious garments.
Whilst my mates took their fashion inspiration from Beverly Hills 90210, I sought my style stimulus in music videos; I wanted to look like the chicks on MTV, hell yeah!
The early 90s saw my wardrobe embrace a holy mishmash of clingy, second skin like leggings, jumpsuits & mini dresses, jewel tone long velvet waistcoats, ridiculously oversized jumpers in a kaleidoscope of colours and a rough and ready camouflage print bomber jacket.
I also bought my first ever pair of DMs and wore them to death.
My favourite shade of lipstick was called ‘Chocolate Kiss’ and my perfume was New West by Aramis. 
I know that some people recoil in horror when faced with photos of their younger self, mainly because of the clothing they were sporting back then but I see these photos as little snapshots of a journey.
Personally I love seeing how someones style has evolved throughout the years and although my own long & winding road has been laced with a fair few fashion disasters, 
all-in-all I'm pretty pleased with where its taken me.
How about you?
Vintage 80s snakeskin print jacket (eBay), 90s velour jumpsuit (Halens), 80s cowboy boots (car boot sale), beaded bib necklace (pressie) & DIYed earrings (made myself)
The words that you can see in the first pic are from a song by one of my all-time favourite bands 'The The'.
You can listen to it here, go on you know you want to ;)
Lot's of love,

Monday, 28 January 2013

Those were the days

Back in the early 90s I spent a summer working in a very well known holiday resort on Costa Blanca.
An older friend of mine had done a few summers there in the late 80s and had enthralled me with his tales of excitement, adventure and really wild things.
So after I finished college I booked a flight to Alicante and blagged a seat on a package holiday transfer bus to the resort.
Once there I managed to find some very cheap accommodation in a grotty hostel situated in the old town and set about looking for a job.
For two nights solid I was job hunting, going to almost every bar & club in the resort but everywhere was the same story, fully staffed.
I did have a back up plan, which was to go fruit picking in the south of France, but ideally I wanted to stay where the buzz was, I was only eighteen after all.
On my third day there I was sitting at a cafĂ© near the bullring eating a huge bocadillio and having several ‘kick in the back of the head’ strength coffees when a handsome middle-aged man approached me.
At first I thought he was just some random perv trying to chat me up but he turned out to be a real diamond geezer; after making a few calls to his mates he’d sorted me out with a club propaganda job.
I started sharing an apartment with three of my workmates & although it was bordering on claustrophobic we had a whale of a time that summer.
On a good day we’d borrow some mopeds and head for the cliffs further down the coast, listen to loud cheesy techno music, drink cheap beer and play truth or dare, in which the dare usually involved launching yourself into the sea off a steep cliff.
In the evening we’d head back into town, feast on huge plates of tuna pasta and drink cheap plonk out of cartons.
Some times we had to do special promotions or leafleting on the beach during the day but most days we just worked from 9pm until 2am and after we would join the throng of punters inside and party until sunrise.
The busy season started slowing down in late September and one by one friendly faces sloped off.
By mid October the resort had been transformed into bingo heaven for well-heeled old timers spending the winter abroad. 
I bought a bus ticket to London and endured the most excruciatingly long bus journey I’ve ever taken.
My diamond geezer had offered to buy me a flight ticket but I quite stupidly turned it down cause I didn’t want to feel as if I owed him anything.
I think that I must have really hurt his feelings cause I never heard from him again.
Sadly I have very few photos left from this time of my life cause I “lost” them in a particularly nasty break-up from a jealous boyfriend a few years later but I will always have my memories.
The choon that defined that glorious summer…
Lot's of love,

Sunday, 27 January 2013

From the seventies but still not going downhill

The awesome vintage ski jacket I was wearing today was bought for a tenner fifteen years ago in a Fort William charity shop. 
At the time hubby was doing snowboard instructing at a ski center and I was trying really hard to find a job. 
As we were quite skint we rented a microscopical room in a house owned by what we thought to be a widower.
Only after we'd moved in he told us that his wife had not long eloped to Spain with another man.
It was an odd experience to say the least, we'd hear him argue and plead with his wife on the phone in the middle of the night and whenever we went into the kitchen he'd corner us and talk incessantly about her. 
He was also rather keen on wandering around in his underpants when he'd had a few too many swallies. 
Our little nook comprised of a double bed that dwarfed the room and a chest of drawers with a black and white camping telly & a kettle perched on top of it, there was also a small built in wardrobe, that you couldn't open properly cause there wasn't enough space. 
There were no jobs in Fort William so I spent a whole month holed up in that tiny room watching crap daytime TV and eating Pot Noodles. 
In the end I had to leave my beloved to his snow covered hills and jump on a bus to London.
This jacket was bought with giro money on my last day in Fort William and I remember wearing it for the entire duration of the ten hour bus journey down south cause it was absolutely freezing. 
I sat together with a bald, toothless weegie who had just been paroled & he was plying me with sickly sweet MD 20/20 and telling really crap jokes but he still had me in stitches.
I've had fifteen years of wear out of this jacket and it is still going strong.
70s ski jacket,  80s Wrangler cowboy boots, 90s velvet jumpsuit, wide mock-croc belt, knitted scarf & sequin beret.
I'm not the only one in this house who poses for pics by the way. 
Here's Mark showing that anything I can do, he can do better...
Mark has been feeling a little bit blue this weekend cause the ski center that he used to instruct at is open for business with powder galore, I believe my man is pining for the hills.
To cheer ourselves up we revisited the pub that we went to last Sunday cause they were hosting a vintage jumble today. 
I'm hoping to get a space here myself next time, fingers crossed. 
The pub has got a really nice, laid-back vibe & the monthly vintage jumble was well stocked, cheap and cheerful, just how I like it.
Did I buy anything?
You will just have to wait and see ;)
Have a fab Sunday folks!
Lot's of love,

Friday, 25 January 2013

Burns Night

Tonight is Burns Night and as an adopted Scot I am celebrating it with gusto.
Veggie haggis, neeps and tatties for din-dins and even a small bottle of  malt to follow.
In honor the man I decided to wear a bit of tartan today...
Vintage 20s tux jacket, vintage 50s blouse top, vintage 80s Ralph Lauren tartan trousers, vintage 80s suede hiking boots (still dirty from when I helped mum do her kitchen up over a year ago, tut-tut) & a sequin beret (that looks a bit like a Jimmy hat when teamed with my hair) to add a bit of quirky glam to the proceedings.
When I bought these pants last November I couldn't do the zip up but now they fit like a glove, I love loosing inches without even trying. 
Maybe I'm burning more calories trying to keep warm, eh?
It's frigging fridging here in London!
(pics sourced on Google images)
Scottish comedy at its best...
Have a great Friday night folks!
Lot's of love,

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

"The planet is fine, the people are fucked"

I felt a little sad today (post-holiday blues no doubt) but a healthy dose of my all-time favourite comedian George Carlin soon had me giggling again :)
Here's a selection of my fave George Carlin quotes....

"Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town."
"I don’t have pet peeves — I have major psychotic fucking hatreds!"
"If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little."
"If it requires a uniform, it’s a worthless endeavor."
"I don’t like to think of laws as rules you have to follow, but more as suggestions."
"I love and treasure individuals as I meet them; I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to."
"Property is theft. Nobody “owns” anything. When you die, it all stays here."
"The future will soon be a thing of the past."
"The only good thing ever to come out of religion was the music."
"Atheism is a non-prophet organization."
"The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it."
"Instead of warning pregnant women not to drink, I think female alcoholics ought to be told not to fuck."
"You can prick your finger but don't finger your prick"
"What was the best thing before sliced bread?"
"One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor."
"As far as I’m concerned, humans have not come up with a belief that’s worth believing."
"May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house."

Sadly George is no longer with us but thankfully his masterful comedy still is.
Lot's of love,

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Frocktasia Winter Sale

Frocktasia is having a massive winter sale.
All 74 items in store have been reduced.
Plenty of awesome bargains for both vintage lovers and style rebels.

Stunning vintage frocks, tops, jumpers, jackets, bags and footwear.
Handmade unique jewellry and shapeshifter ponchos.

Why not pop over and have a look :)

If you have any questions you can contact me on 

Lot's of love,

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snow is Magic

I love snow so for me these past few days have been a real treat.
At lunchtime we swung by the £1 shop to get some grub for the wild birds before hitting a nearby parkland trail.
En route we ventured into the snow clad undergrowth to place fat balls and scatter some seed mix.
Not that I think that our feathered friends in this area are particularly hard up but it's a nice thing to do just in case there are a few of them going hungry in these snowy times.
We spotted a black bird and a robin but both were way too fast for me to get a photograph.
There were a lot of people out and about walking the trail, many more than on an average Sunday.
What I like the most about snow, is its seeming ability to make strangers smile at each other and even spontaneously break into conversation, something that is sadly not commonplace in London.
Snow is magic!
It wasn't actually that cold but  that probably had something to do with the umpteen layers that I had piled on. 
Re-emerging  from the undergrowth. One chap stopped and asked if we'd lost our dog to which I replied "No, we're just feeding the birdies", he did look a little bit bemused...hehehe!
Once we'd reached the end of the trail Mark and I rewarded ourselves with a quick pint at an all but empty pub before making the trek back home.
Hope everyone has had a brilliant weekend!
Lot's of love,

Friday, 18 January 2013

The journey that rocked my boat

As promised here is my account of the nightmarish speedboat journey that we undertook whilst on holiday a couple of weeks ago...
Island hopping, sounds lush doesn't it?! Sitting on deck topping up the tan for five hours, or not. Twenty minutes into the ferry journey all but a handful of people had gone downstairs. The speed boat in this picture was the same size as the one we travelled on from Koh Lipe to Langkawi. 
On New Years Day we left Koh Lanta to head for Langkawi. 
As we were leaving Thailand and entering Malaysia we had to stop off on Koh Lipe to go through immigration and also to change from the ferry to a small speed boat for the last part of the journey.
All the way from Koh Lanta to Koh Lipe the ferry was rocking to-and-fro and sitting on deck wasn't very comfortable, so we spent most of the five hour journey inside. 
I was knocked out by the heavy diesel fumes and slept most of the way.
I was really happy to get off the ferry on Koh Lipe hoping that it would be a quick 90 minute hop from there to Langkawi but I should have known better.
We made the same trip from Langkawi to Koh Lipe two years ago, so I kind of knew what to expect.
On that occasion the weather was pretty bad with lashing rain, thunder and lightning but the boat was bigger and felt slightly safer to be on, the crew also gave us life-vests & rain ponchos as soon as we boarded and our luggage was kept in a hold underneath the deck.
The boat that we boarded on Koh Lipe this time around was no bigger than the speed boat that Mark and I had dived off a few days earlier which to me felt a little bit disconcerting especially since all the bags were simply tossed to the back of the boat in a jumble & not secured or covered up in any way.
At least on a good dive boat everything is meticulously secured and you get a briefing about safety on board (the whereabouts of life vests & first aid kit etc) before you even get on the thing.
We were last on to the boat as we chasing the connection and it was already stuffed to the gunnels with luggage and people.
A yummy mummy with a tiny baby in her arms, families with young children and even a pregnant immediate thought was "This is going to be interesting".
I'm just going to break off in a wee rant here before I go on cause I feel I need to vent!
Why oh why, do some parents think it's a good idea to bring a tiny baby on holiday to places like these?
Firstly going to a tropical country you will probably have to inject your zero-year-old with some nasty shit so it doesn't contract some serious illness, then put the poor mite through the trials & tribulations of a long haul flight, then it’s the shock of going from a very cold to a very hot country, exceedingly strong sun, stingy things in the sea & a plethora of insects that just want to eat you etc etc etc...
Why this outburst I hear you ask, who has made your spleen erupt this time Jennie?
Well, maybe I'm unfair cause I'm sure there are some parents that are quite capable in coping with bringing a small child on a holiday like this, that's not to say that I personally agree with their choice.
However on our boat there was a particularly mad mother that had obviously OD on YouTube videos sound-tracked by chill-out music depicting happy bronzed Swedes sitting on the deck of a boat gliding over a tranquil sea, sunning themselves and looking happy.
It is my belief that she had not taken into account that the sea is unpredictable and as a rule does not behave like those glorious stills featured on travel sites.
We had just about hit the open sea when the boat stared rocking slightly and said woman started screaming that she demanded the boat to turn around and go back to Koh Lipe and if it didn't she was sure that the boat would turn over and we would all drown.
If the other little kids weren't pooping themselves with fear before, they certainly were now. 
I looked at the crew and most of them were still upbeat and smiling, so I figured we were still safe to go ahead to Langkawi; after all they make this journey everyday and unless they were a crew of suicide-boaters, I reckoned they didn't want to die either and if they though it was safe enough to go ahead, it probably would be. 
The crew asked the passengers what they wanted to do and most of us wanted to continue to Langkawi but it was agreed that we’d proceed with caution, so two of the motors where shut off, which significantly added to the journey time.
The swell was building and sunset was fast approaching.
The waves were hitting us side on, so at times it did feel as if we were going to tumble right over.
By now the crew had issued everyone with ridiculously substandard life vest.
Both the light and the whistle was missing on mine and only one of the clips was in working order, so I tied the vest to my body and grabbed our Scubapro torch from the dive bag, better safe than sorry.
In my head I was also working out a safe route to leave the boat, over the mound of unsecured bags (that were now absolutely sodden where they lay) and the two motor blades that would still be rotating.
All of a sudden a big wave mashed into the side of the boat and as the bow hit the surface the hull made a loud cracking sound.
At that point I thought we’d had it but thankfully the hull was still intact.
It was around and about now the crew started displaying some slight signs of being worried themselves and they periodically lifted the floor panel to check that everything was as it should be.
I was starting to get a wee bit worried cause the sun was quickly disappearing over the horizon and I still couldn't see Langkawi.
Granted looking for land wasn't the easiest as every time you peered over the side you’d get hit in the face by a furious whip of water.
Darkness fell and we were still running on only two motors.
The crew weren't very forthcoming in updating the passengers on how much longer we’d have to travel before we got to our destination.
Then all of a sudden hubby spotted the lights of the Langkawi cable car far away in the distance, it was like seeing the holy grail!
We came onto the lee side of the island and the waves all but abated, the captain put the boat into full throttle and we were soon in the harbour.
Sodden to the bones, shivering and still buzzing with adrenaline.
This was one of the most pant-soilingly scary yet at the same time thrilling boat rides that I've ever taken.
When we arrived at the resort just before midnight we had to hang up everything in our bags to dry. 
Of course had I been smart, I would have packed everything into bin liners and got a rain-cover for my rucksack but alas I didn't, I will do next time for sure.
Unfortunately going by boat is the only option to get to a lot of the gorgeous islands in this region but Langkawi has an airport so should you want to visit and don't want to brave the waves you can fly there.
Here are a few clips from the journey taken with Mark's GoPro (water resistant) camera... 
Lot's of love,

The wonderful white stuff

It snowed all morning, so when hubby came back from work we went for a walk in the park, threw a few snowballs and took some outfit pics, as you do ;)
Today's Ensemble:
Musk Ox of Copenhagen parka coat
Three pairs of leggings
Crushed velvet leotard
Revamped kilt pin top
Vintage 20s gents waistcoat
Steve Madden boots
Tibetan prayer bangle
Studded collar
Earrings that I made myself 
Knitted scarf as headdress
I'm wearing two of my favourite things today. 
My 1920s waistcoat that I got from my mother-in-law about five or six years ago. I love it so much I have literally worn it to pieces, the armholes are fraying, the seams are coming apart and the lining is threadbare but I still think it improves with every wear. The last button fell off a couple of years ago but instead of replacing it I added a punky kilt pin. I call it my tatterdemalion waistcoat.
The second favourite I'm wearing today is my Danish made parka coat. I bought it from a car boot sale on a roasting hot summers day some years ago and got it for song. It is amazingly warm, I think you could quite possibly undertake an Arctic expedition wearing this.
I can see myself wearing this coat for many many winters to come, unless I of course emigrate to a country that doesn't do cold winters ;)
Lot's of  love,

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Lanta Animal Welfare

When we went to Ko Lanta in 2010 I fell head over heels in love with all the beautiful dogs and cats on the island but was also rather saddened by the fact that there seemed to be quite a few straggly and malnourished looking strays on the island too.
On one of our pre-breakfast walks one morning we spotted a dog hiding away in the undergrowth, he looked really unwell and from what we could see he had a nasty gash on his leg, it looked as if he’d been stabbed, he seemed to be very scared and as we got closer he showed his teeth and started growling.
We got some food and water and put it down at a growls distance, moved away and watched as he limped over and devoured it hungrily.
Later that day we went back but he had gone and we never saw him again.
Throughout our holiday I had seen strays being chased away by locals in a rather brusque manner, so I gathered that they were not very popular on the island and would probably not be taken in or nursed back to health.
Therefore I was chuffed to bits when I on our last day there spotted a notice about ‘Lanta Animal Welfare’ in a shop.
I thought, "Thank goodness these poor mites have a guardian angel here after all" and promptly stuffed all my remaining Baht in one of their donation boxes.
 Needless to say I was thrilled to go back to Ko Lanta so that we could finally pay a visit to this brilliant organisation.
I only wish there was a Lanta Animal Wefare on every island in Thailand.
In the UK animal rights and animal welfare organisations comes as standard but in many countries throughout Asia they don’t and sadly without appropriate laws, it’s very difficult to combat cruelty and promote animal welfare in these countries.
When I read about the absolutely atrocious ways that some people on Ko Lanta use to rid the island of unwanted cats, dogs and strays I was naturally horrified but it also made me want to understand what really lay behind such appalling behaviour towards animals and in particular dogs.
The majority of the population on Ko Lanta are Muslims so I decided to have a gander on Google to see if I could find out if there was anything written in the Koran about dogs.
As with most searches on the Internet, this one yielded a heap of contradicting views and information.
From what I can gather there seems to be two camps on the whole ‘Dogs in Islam’ issue.
There are those who consider any physical contact with a dog an unclean act and state that Islam prohibits them from keeping dogs as pets and then there are the more liberal Muslims that seem to consider dogs in a more western context.
Apparently the Koran doesn’t say anything expressly against dogs however there are several hadiths (important sacred texts that many Muslims choose to live by) that seemingly condemn them.
"Five kinds of animals are mischief-doers and can be killed even in the Sanctuary: They are the rat, the scorpion, the kite, the crow and the rabid dog." (Book #54, Hadith #531)
I do want to mention that there are also hadiths that cast dogs in a more favourable light and because of that I’m not content in believing that cruelty to dogs on Ko Lanta is simply down to peoples religious beliefs.
Maybe to some extent there was some method in the madness when these scriptures were penned, serious decease like rabies may have been rife at the time and the hadiths were written to safeguard the people from being infected.
Unfortunately rabies is still a real threat in this part of the world, I found this information on the WHO website:
More than 55 000 people die of rabies every year mostly in Asia and Africa.”
“Dogs are the source of the vast majority of human rabies deaths.”
Thankfully rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease and the best strategy for preventing rabies in people is by eliminating rabies in dogs through vaccination which is one of the very important things Lanta Animal Welfare are doing.
I can understand the fear of decease, the want to keep animal populations at a manageable level and even that some people find dogs unhygienic and don’t want to keep them in their homes, each to their own.
What I cannot understand is how an individual is even capable of such unspeakable cruelty as to throw boiling hot oil over a poor defenceless animal?
Surely we’ve left the realms of religion here, or can people really rationalize doing stuff like that off the back of their beliefs and not see the utter evil in their actions?
A brutally sadistic act like putting fishhooks in dog food or leaving kittens on a cliff shelf when the tide is coming in would land you in a world of bother in the UK but goes unpunished on Ko Lanta.
Keeping the stray dog and cat population under control is of course very important but it should be done humanely and this is why a place like Lanta Animal Welfare is so important.
Through the provision of a humane alternative to population control and education of the younger generation they show the locals a better way of doing things and this in turn will hopefully stop the senseless violence towards these beautiful creatures.
This was the notice that I spotted in the shop back in 2010. The founder Junie Kovacs used to shelter the strays in her own home at the back of her restaurant & Thai cooking school 'Time For Lime'.

The proceeds from 'Time For Lime' went to build this fantastic shelter situated by the Muay Thai stadium, where Pra Ae beach meets Klong Khong beach. 

If you are not a dog person there are plenty of cats to cuddle too.

Who needs elephant trekking when you can go on a stroke-a-thon outside the Happy Cat House :)

We spent a good few hours just cuddling the cats, they are very friendly.

I have a severe weakness for jet-black cats.

The shelter encourages visitors and there are free guided tours every hour.

The dogs are divided into four packs and spend the day outside in four spacious pens. At nighttime they stay in kennels inside. 

More cuddly cats. After you are all cuddled out with the cats, you can take one of the many gorgeous and remarkably well-behaved dogs for a walk.

Bones, Tarzan (who is in the process of being adopted), cheeky wee Spot (who went for walkies with us), Lanta, Sugar and my niece.

Rocket (possibly the most handsome dog I have ever seen), Gorgeous Chilli and Momma (who we took out for walkies). 

Whilst we were there on our second visit someone brought in a slightly different patient.

WALKIES with Momma, Spot and Star.

I really can't think of a better way to spend a few hours. We met some really nice people here too.

On our second visit I convinced my sister (who is afraid of dogs) to come with us. A bit of  Cognitive Behaviour Therapy whilst on holiday and guess what I think it worked ;)

Denver was trying to catch miniature crabs as they scuttled across the sand and Pepsi was sniffing out the bigger ones hiding in their holes.

This is Dok Dek and he was rescued after someone poured boiling hot oil on his head. He's a real cheeky chappy with bundles of character. All the dogs and cats at LAW are looking for loving new homes.
After spending a few wonderful hours with the cats and dogs not to forget the lovely people at LAW chilling out at Time For Lime's laid back beach bar is the icing on the cake.

If you want to find out more about Lanta Animal Welfare please visit their website and if their work speaks volumes to you why not make a donation to this wonderful organization, they need every single Baht to keep the good work going.

Before we traveled to Thailand I read about a dog called Sky on LAWs facebook page and needless to say her story made me cry. When I saw her in real life I just wanted to take her in my arms and keep her safe forever. How can people be so cruel to such a beautiful soul? If I had the money and lived in a big house in the country I would love to give Sky a new home. I hope someone with the biggest of  hearts finds their way to her.

I am so happy that there are people in this world like Junie Kovacs and all the brilliant volunteers at Lanta Animal Welfare, all I can say is thank goodness for them!
Lot's of love,