Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Meet People, Go Places, Do Things

A few years ago Mark and I were strolling along a beautiful sun soaked beach in Thailand after a wonderful snorkeling excursion. I remember talking excitedly about the amazing things I had seen under the surface as well as bemoaning the fact that my lungs would only let me stay down for about forty seconds at a time before demanding I'd return to the surface for another greedy gulp of air. 
When Mark said "We should learn how to scuba dive" I just kind of laughed it off, as back then I mistakenly thought that scuba diving was the reserve for people with plenty of cash to splash. 
However on our return to the UK Mark phoned a few places to inquire about training and costs and after considerable deliberation we decided to sign-up for the PADI Open Water Course with Dive Wimbledon and so the journey to awesomeness began.

As ridiculous as this may sound to others, learning how to scuba dive totally revolutionized my life and it has had a profound effect on my self-confidence. Sometimes something brilliant comes along that makes you glow and grow and for me that something was scuba diving.

  "Meet People, Go Places, Do Things" is the PADI motto and since becoming Divemaster Trainee with Aquatron Dive Centre that has become my sweet life :)

Yesterday Mark had a day off so we jumped in the car and drove to Loch Long. In the morning we dived a site called The Caves and in the afternoon we moved down the shore to a site called The A-Frames
The Caves - Loch Long
Mark and Jen enjoying a post dive coffee.
We've had a fair bit of rain and blustery winds here in Scotland of late but yesterday we had perfect diving weather. In the morning there was barely a ripple on the loch and we even had some blue sky breaking through in the afternoon. The water temperature was a cool 10°C but even after a 45 minute dive I still didn't feel that cold, in other words there is a very good reason why so many fellow divers opt for the Scubapro Everdry 4, it keeps you nice and toasty.
Pre-dive lunch at A-Frames where we managed to gatecrash an army exercise.
The highlight of the day was having our first ever catshark encounter. Sadly we didn't bring the GoPro camera on these dives which was a real shame because the visibility was really quite good but I was brushing up on my navigating skills and we thought it best not to task load ourselves. There will be another encounter I am sure.

I will wrap up with a little medley of pics from the past couple of months.
Now that Mark and I are both Divemasters in training we will be doing a lot more diving with the school, both as little helpers and as students ourselves.
The first rung on the PADI professional ladder looms in the distance but first there is plenty of studying, practicing, perfecting, working and playing to be done :)
The PADI Master Scuba Diver is the highest non-professional certification level in the PADI system of diver education, it has been so much fun getting to this point and I am very much looking forward to getting on the first rung of the PADI professional ladder.
Mark and I did four pool sessions and three open water days with the school this month. We also did the Enriched Air Diver Course and bagged our certs with flying colours, huzzah!
St. Catherines - Loch Fyne with Aquatron Dive Centre
29 Steps with the Open Water students who all did swimmingly.
Mark also did the first part of the Night Diver course at the A-Frames, I tagged along to serve up a hot drink during the surface interval.
St. Catherines with the school last Sunday. It was a bit of a dreich day but it takes more than a bit of rain and wind to wipe the smile off  a Scottish scuba divers face, we are hardcore ;)
Next month is set to be just as busy, kicking off with the Aquatron Big Sale Weekend and Halloween Charity Dance this Saturday. Mark's costume is all sorted but as per usual I am still pondering what get-up to go for, too many choices is my delightful problem.

Have a funderful Halloween peeps :)
Loads of love,

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Tearing down the coastline in the blazing sunshine

Last Sunday Mark and I loaded the car up with camping and snorkeling gear and headed out for a wee adventure. 
We followed the Firth of Clyde coastline to the south of Irvine (where we spent a lovely day on the beach last month) and made several little stops on the way.
We frolicked around in Troon, photographed swooping gulls in Ayr and stopped off to explore lovely Dunure.
Gulls take to the air in Ayr.
Jennie almost takes to the air in Ayr.
I was jumping around like a super excited kid all day.
Dunure was really lovely.
Set in a breathtakingly beautiful part of the coastline, its got a cracking castle ruin that you can have a wee wander around for free.
The weather was awesome too, which is always a big bonus.
There were some beautiful pigeons making their home in the doocot next to the castle ruin.
After chilling in the glorious sunshine with flask of coffee we made tracks in search of somewhere to pitch our tent for the night. Although we bought the tent two years ago this was its first time out of the bag.
A bit further along the coast we found the Culzean Castle Campsite.
At just £15.95 per night we both agreed that the stunning views across the Firth of Clyde to the islands of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre was worth that alone.
After the tent was up we headed down to the shoreline to watch the sunset armed with a couple of bottles of  ale. We had hoped for a quick evening dip but the tide was out so we had to settle for a paddle instead.
Thankfully the midgies weren't too bad and we were treated to a spectacular sunset in the company of herons and oyster catchers.
 We "cooked" our dinner (tinned veggie soup) on our Trangia camping stove and then crawled into our sleeping bags after an absolute cracker of a day.
I woke up at 4am bright as a button and considered making a cheeky crop-circle in the field in front but settled for a nice cup of tea and a bit of cloud spotting instead.
After breakfast and a lovely warm shower, we packed up the tent and headed back up the coast to Dunure to do some snorkeling.
The tide was coming back in and it was slightly colder in the water than the day before but we still managed to stay in for about half an hour. 
The kelp was amazing, huge clusters of long swaying tendrils with lots of crabs and little fish hiding among them.
We chilled on the beach for a bit and then headed back home.
A lovely 24 hour getaway :)
I am chuffed to bits that all of this AWESOMENESS can be found almost on my doorstep.
This was the soundtrack as we tore around the coastline in Cato...
Hope you are all doing grand peeps and that the sun is shining where you are.
Loads of love,

PS. You can have a wee peek at the pics above plus some more of the trip over on Flickr.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Happy is what we are when we're together

We've had some cracking summer weather here the past few days and as luck would have it Mark had two days off in a row, yay!
After he finished work on Saturday we bundled all our dive gear, along with four borrowed tanks and weights courtesy of awesome Aquatron, into the car and headed north to Ballachulish.
We stayed the night with mum and on Sunday morning we did our first ever completely solo buddy-team dive in Loch Leven.
There are two popular dive sites within a stone's throw of mum's house, the one that we went to with Ben a while back called Manse Point and another one that is even closer to the village called The Slates.
Unfortunately Mark had forgotten to charge his GoPro camera so we've got no pics or film of what we saw under the surface which was a shame cause the visibility was really rather splendid on the day.
We did two dives of about 40 minutes each, the maximum depth that we went to was 20 meters and the dive highlights were spotting a Ling  and having a close encounter (thankfully not too close) with a large Lion's Mane Jellyfish. The water temperature was a cool 10°C but I kept fairly warm in my Scubapro Climatec Undersuit & Everdry 4 Drysuit combo.

On Sunday evening we drove back to Glasgow and celebrated our buddy team milestone by cracking open a few bottles of choice ale, awesome!

When we woke up on Monday morning the sun was blazing though the window and although I had planned to spend the day indoors taking photos for the Etsy shop, it would have been a sin to miss out on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year.
So Mark and I decided to grab our snorkeling gear and head to Wemyss Bay for a day by the coast.
Here's Mark all wetsuited and booted running into the Firth of Clyde...
It would have been too cold to go snorkeling for any length of time without wearing a wetsuit but with a protective layer of neoprene we could stay in the water for a good twenty minutes. The water was crystal clear so the visibility was amazing. We spotted lots of crabs and really small jellyfish but I spent most of the time looking for unusual pebbles for my collection.

Here are a few snaps of our lovely day at Wemyss Bay...
We only took a couple of pics at The Slates on Sunday as our minds were pretty preoccupied with getting everything just right..."planning the dive and diving the plan".
The dive site name is spot on. Here I am rocking my fleecy thermal onesie or Monkey Man Suit as I like to call it.
A well deserved cuppa in-between dives.
So that was the tale of our two days of diving and snorkeling fun.

This is the lifestyle Mark and I have been longing for and I can't begin to explain how happy I feel that we finally got our procrastinating act together and made the move up north. I feel tremendously blessed that everything has turned out so good and that we've managed to hook up with such awesome & kindhearted people.
Don't get me wrong, we had a really nice life & lovely friends down in London too but financially we were always chasing our tails. Even if Mark was earning twice as much as he is here in Glasgow we were still always teetering on the brink of being completely broke.
Although the move has not put us in a better place financially at least we are much happier and we get to do loads of fun stuff, which to me is more important than a bulging bank balance anyway.

Last month we were sent a lovely surprise parcel from our friends Kaori, Adam and their cute as a button daughter Maya in Japan. It contained (among other things) two beautiful kimonos and obi belts.
We have been awaiting an opportunity to take some photos of them and on the way up the road last Saturday evening that opportunity presented itself.
We wanted a dramatic backdrop to do these truly stunning garments justice and it doesn't get much more dramatic than the spectacular Buachaille Etive Mor.
It was Mark that choose this spot. I think it's quite Hokusai-esque.
Mark snapped a few solo sans wig ones of me but the midgies were out in force so it had to be a guerrilla style photo session. 
I had some fun with PicMonkey this morning :)
I'll leave you with a cheesetastico tune from the 90s, enjoy  ;)
May this blog post find you happy & healthy.
loads of love,

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Priscilla Queen of the Glen

The second and last frock that we shoot in the glen was this extraordinarily stunning shimmering bronze taffeta creation labelled Priscilla of Boston.
 I'm guessing that it is from the same sort of fashion era as the QUAD frock I blogged about yesterday.
This frock makes me feel as if I've just sprung from the pages of a Jane Austen novel.
Fabulously bust enhancing empire line cut with delicate cream lace detailing to the neckline, adorable ruffle trimmed puff sleeves and a generously swishy skirt with ruffle trim hemline. The fabric glints and sparkles in the sun, fabulous! 
I bought this spectacular frock from a vintage dealer some years ago and have been hankering to photograph it in an equally spectacular setting ever since.
I was toying with the idea of taking it down to King's Bench Walk and doing a guerilla photo session but there are always so many people milling about in that area. Another nice spot in London for a photo session with a historical flavour would be the Pergola in Hampstead Heath. Neither of these places hold a candle to the stunning backdrop that the glen provides though and even if we did had a little bit of an audience on this occasion it's not as if people were walking in front of the camera as is often the case when trying to snap a few pics in London.
In the next post I'll show you the frocks that we shot by the Loch Leven shore. 
It was tremendously windy that day so only a few pics came out alright.
Thank you ever so much for the fab comments you left on the last post, you peeps ROCK!
I'll leave you with an amazing song by Wyldeck, enjoy ;)
Loads of love,

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Back from Caledonia

Hey peeps,
hope you are all doing well?!
I dropped off the radar for a while to visit Scotland again.
It was my mother-in-laws 70th birthday on Thursday, so we decided to go up and spend a week with her.
We just got back last night and today I did the Can't Buy Me Love market at The Boogaloo but I'll blog about Scotland and the market tomorrow.
I meant to post this blog before I went to Scotland but never quite managed to get around to it, better late than never ;)

A week and a half ago I had a photo session with an amazing London based singer-songwriter called Faith Taylor. I approached Faith a while back after falling in love with her voice at a gig and asked her if she'd be interested in taking part in a little vintage clothing inspired photo session at my house. We were messaging each other on Facebook prior to the session to establish what sort of theme would best suit her personality and music style. Faith is a self-declared tomboy so we went with an androgynous style.
Look 1
 Vintage 70s blazer, 70s shirt and 70s bow-tie combo
Look 2 
Vintage 50s felt hat and 70s ethnic embroidered waistcoat
Look 3
German military shirt teamed a cowboy style scarf
I really enjoyed doing this little session and I'm planning to do more of them next month.
Faith was a real joy to work with and I'll be sure to keep an eye on her future gig listings.

Before we went to Scotland I met up with Leslie and we went to take in the Lichtenstein -A Retrospective exhibition at the Tate Modern, which was absolutely fab!
Vintage 50s trousers, 70s Liberty print suspenders, 70s lurex blouse, sleeveless knitted jumper, Handmade African necklace, Frocktasia earrings, handmade tote bag made by Leslie, Lowepro camera bag & DMs 
I'll post about Scotland & my market adventures tomorrow but right now I'm going to crash and burn, I'm bushed...cheerio my dear pals ;)
Loads 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,