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,

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Fiesta frock

In 1986 my mum took me to Mallorca on holiday, Magaluf to be exact. 
In the morning mum would cover herself in Hawaiian Tropic dark tanning oil, slither onto a beach lounger and stay there for hours reading her books in the baking hot sun. I soon got bored with lounging on the beach and took my inflatable lilo for epic paddles along the shoreline and beyond. On one occasion I got back finding my mother livid with worry cause I'd been gone for several hours. She gave me an almighty bollocking for not being more considerate and told me that I could forget about the fiesta dress that I'd been lusting over in a little shop near the hotel. As a child in pursuit of excitement, adventure and really wild things I became blinkered to other peoples concerns I guess. If my mum had known about all the other perilously crazy stunts me and my little pals got up to at home, she would probably have put me under permanent house arrest until I turned eighteen. We returned to the hotel in a huffed silence to get ready for an outing. That evening we were going to a 'medieval fiesta' held at some fake fort on the outskirts of the resort. Do people still go to these things? Everyone wore paper crowns and colour coded tabards to correspond with each seating section's individual knight. During the medieval banquet tournaments were held. The cheap Spanish plonk (and lemonade) was free flowing and there were lots of  jeering and cheering going on. An opportunity to shake a leg was also given towards the end of the evening, with a great many vermillion-faced holiday makers dancing to the ever so slightly annoying birdy song. 
Needless to say my mum didn't stay cross with me for very long and she even let me buy a fiesta frock before we went home. I actually wanted a scarlet lace one but mum thought it was far too sexy for a twelve year old so I was only allowed to get the much more virginal white cotton & crochet trimmed version. Sadly the white frock no longer dwells in my vintage wonderland but whenever I come across a similar dress all these memories come flooding back to me.
The hydrangea pink fiesta frock that I'm wearing today was cheekily borrowed from the Frocktasia stockroom cause it just seemed like the perfect day for it ;)
80s Mexican fiesta dress, ethnic mirror and embroidery embellished tie belt, 80s Pierre Cardin sandals & Leslie Works button bracelet.
I'll love you and leave you with The Pogues, enjoy ;)
Take care,

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Counting Crows

Last night the sky finally ripped open. I was sitting by my computer and when I heard it start a feeling of excitement compelled me to go out and stand on the balcony. I got soaked and it was lovely. The heat is still lingering and the sun is doing its level best to try and burn through the clouds. I'm glad it rained, it was needed.

Yesterday was stiflingly hot. I always feel sorry for black animals & birds not to mention hardcore goths in this kind of weather. The crows in the park looked as if they were about to pass out in the heat. We saved them some grapes and cherries from our picnic.
Ten years ago when I was working at a nursery school nearby Alexandra Place I used to spend my lunch break reading in the park. I usually sat in the shade of a tall tree that also happened to be a favourite hangout for crows. Occasionally a crow would descend to the ground, remain at a safe distance and scope me out. It was summer and I was raw vegan at the time so my lunchbox usually contained a mix of vegetable florets and fruit, not foods that I thought a crow would be much interested in eating. One day however I'd rolled over in the grass a few times reading my book and I was lying far enough away from my lunchbox for the crow to feel brave enough to raid it. I looked over and there he was feasting out on my grapes. He ate his fill and then with a grape carefully held in his beak he ascended back into the tall tree. For the rest of that summer I brought grapes for the crows in my lunchbox.

Curtise mentioned in her last blog post that she's having some issues with deciding what time of day to take outfit pics at the moment. The harsh sunlight is wrecking havoc with most my pics as well and moving into the shade doesn't seem have the desired effect either. Even if the sun is blazing in the sky above and you are sporting more colour than a Rio Carnival float the pics all seem to come out looking a bit like a peeled cucumber, all watery and pale.
I'm sure there is something that can be done to remedy this effect but as it probably involves reading up on some serious photography techniques, I can't be arsed at the moment so watery and pale it is.
Handmade crochet top (pressie from my lovely mum), abstract print 90s cotton trousers, silk scarf, flip-flops, straw hat, aviator sunnies, parrot earrings, three necklaces, Leslie Works button bracelet, loadsa bangles and my POP-swatch from the late 80s.
I was standing against this sun baked yellow brick wall, thinking that it would provide a deliciously intense backdrop that would make the festival of colour I was wearing really pop out, how wrong was I...watery and pale.
You can't even tell that I've actually got the faint beginnings of a tan, I swear I do.

I'll love you and leave you with Counting Crows, enjoy ;)
Take care,

Sunday, 21 July 2013

In Your Arms I Feel Sunshine

It has been a busy wee weekend for Mr & Mrs Mcletchie.
On Friday we enjoyed our daily little picnic in the park, we had wraps...
An arachnophobic would probably have jumped out of their skin to find this little critter crawling on their straw hat but I quite like spiders.
We managed a quick catch up with the geese...
...before going home to get ready for an evening at the theater.
Three of my friends are in The New Actors Company and they were staging a play by Peter Ustinov at the Southwark Playhouse called 'The Moment of Truth'. 
In the intermission Mark and I made a pledge to go and see more plays, we really enjoyed it...
On the way home from Elephant & Castle, a little impromptu posing ensued  ;)
I wore: 70s Russian scarf print maxi frock, 80s Pierre Cardin sandals & Leslie Works button bracelet.
Mark wore: 70s shirt, jeans, DC shoes, watch & man-bag.
Then on Saturday morning we hopped on the train to Wraysbury to go diving.
Although we hooked up with our fabulous pals from Dive Wimbledon the dives we did were unsupervised fun dives. This was a bit of a milestone for us as thus far we've always had either a guide or instructor with us. So we 'planned the dive and dived the plan' as it goes in the PADI manual, it was lots of fun and I have to say that I totally feel like a proper diver now, yay!
Mark had to borrow a pair of fin boots, the Blue-footed Booby springs to mind ;)
We will be continuing our dive education next month by doing the Rescue Diver Course, needless to say I am very excited.
It is tradition to have a plateful of cheesy chips when we dive at Wraysbury, just the picture of them is enough to clog an artery or two.
The dive centre was rammed with people, lots of dive clubs doing courses but we stayed away from the training platforms and explored the less popular spots of the lake. There are plenty of wrecks scattered about and Mark did a grand old job navigating from one to the other through the next to no viz water.
Here's a little funny trailer that Mark made up from some of the clips he took with his GoPro camera ;)
Yesterday it looked as if the weather might be on the turn and in the evening rain clouds were looming above but this morning we woke up to another brilliantly blue sky, so there was nothing more to it...picnic in the park time ;)
Another scorcher is forecast for tomorrow but it looks as if we may be getting some rain next week. I think the plants will be rejoicing when it comes but I for one hope it doesn't linger too long.
Right now I am feeling incredibly upbeat and centered, like I am riding a wave of positive energy.
All of a sudden the inclination to get things done has returned with renewed zeal.
Life is just so much better when it's sunny outside :)

I'll love you and leave you with Moloko, enjoy :)
Hope you've all had a fabulous weekend.
Take care,

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Madame Guillotine

What a beautiful summer we are having in the UK :)
Usually when we are promised a rare sunny weekend a mad supermarket stampede ensues, with people panic buying disposable BBQ's, stripey straws, citronella candles, burger relish, coleslaw and slabs of animal carcass to marinade and grill. We've done the BBQing now, it's out of our systems and not once did we have to escape indoors or cower underneath a gazebo cause the clouds decided to start chucking cats and dogs at us. At the moment we are living like jammy Aussies who can throw a shrimp on the barbie whenever we see fit and it's blooming great!

If the BBC weather website is anything to go by we are set for a few more days of cloudless skies and soaring temperatures before a little bit of rain is forecast.

Yesterday I told you of how parts of the park has been transformed into an arid steppe scattered with skimpy bikini & speedo clad bodies. It has also recently become our dining-room. Mark and I decided that for the duration of this glorious heatwave we'll be having our dinners on a blanket in the park.
So when Mark comes home from work in the afternoon, I stand ready with a cool bag full of goodies to go.

As we were walking up to the park yesterday we spotted something rather random...
A guillotine...maybe en route to Parliament Square, who knows?!
Needless to say it was padlocked and a girl was sitting nearby minding it. I didn't think to ask why it was there but quite often the park is used as a filming location. The girl didn't mind me posing in front of Madame Guillotine, I'm sure I wasn't the first person to do it.
Whenever I wear this skirt I feel an uncontrollable twirl need...
Tie-dye ruffle hem Hippie skirt (charity shop),  Handmade crochet top (a gift from my beloved mother), Frocktasia necklace, soapstone heart & macrame earrings, 80s sunnies (eBay), Havaianas flip-flops (gift from a Brazilian friend).
Larking about in the park with a gory guillotine in the background...
just one of life's little pleasures ;)
Speaking of little pleasures, both Mark and I are really enjoying being able to have our dinner in the park.
Yesterday I made pasta salad that we topped with a bit of grated cheddar cheese. I bought cheese topped rolls, cranberry juice and pretzels from Lidl. I also made a spicy chutney chickpea dip to go with it.
I refuse to by hummus at the supermarket cause a lot of the time shop bought ones are too bland for my taste buds. Making your own is so cheap and easy anyway.
If you want to give it a go...
*Whole can of chickpeas in brine, rinse well cause they smell a bit like cat food straight out of the can.
*Spoonful of tahini paste or more depending on your own preference.
*Some olive oil, salt and pepper.
*Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice.
*A few cloves of garlic.
Before blending I often jazz it up with some more spices (I love paprika powder) and a spoonful of chutney, pesto, vegetarian tapenade or something else that is yummy.
I use my trusty hand-blender to mix it all into a smooth creamy paste and if it's too thick I add a little bit of tap water to get the consistency that I desire.
Easy peasy lemon squeesy with a whole lot of yummy rolled in :)
I made this GIF image after another wonderful day in the park last summer...
 I'll love you and leave you with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, enjoy :)
Take care,

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Respect and hippie love

The heat has reduced many of the lush green lawns in the park to something decidedly steppe like and strewn across this semi-arid plain are barely clad bodies soaking up the sun. I'm not really one for stripping off in the city and as tempting as it may be I'd feel pretty awkward sprawling out on a blanket in the park in skimpy pants and a bra. Personally I feel I need a beach or at the very least a pool to don a bikini in public.
I don't know what it is but whenever I dress lightly in the city there is always some creepy guy that feels the need to comment on not so much what I'm wearing but what I'm exposing.
En route to the Post Office yesterday morning I had a guy walking behind me singing "I see you baby, shaking that ass" not that my ass was hanging out or anything, at least I don't think it was, nor was I shaking it but there you go. Then on my way back home another sleazeball  tooted at me and shouted "Hello, sexy legs". Maybe these chaps think that comments like that are flattering but rather than making me feel good about myself  they make me feel really uneasy.
I've never had this happen to me on a beach, so what's the difference?
Why do some guys feel that just because you are wearing something skimpy, trying to keep cool on a scorching hot day that gives them a license to perv away and also tell you all about it.
I'm not trying to be sexy for your ogling pleasure, so just frack off!
Anyway, I'm not going to let these creeps rain on my parade, I just wish they'd show some bloody respect that's all, maybe in another lifetime, eh?!
The vivaciously coloured mini frock that I was wearing yesterday is by French lingerie & swimwear label Janine Robin. I'm guessing it's from the 60s. The fabric has got a lovely waffled texture and I absolutely adore the detailing to the back...
I was really chuffed yesterday when the pictures from the Hippie Chic opening party started to pop up on FB. The frock that Jo got for her friend Lauren who is the curator of the exhibition got an almighty outing. I feel like a proud mother seeing one of her babies doing well for themselves in the world.
I borrowed these two pics from the Boston MFA facebook page....
Lauren looks absolutely spectacular and I love the beautiful floral crowns too. Jo also looked amazingly stunning in a vintage frock by Californian label Young Edwardian by Arpeja and her escort Chris looked very dapper too. You can read Jo's account of the opening night on her fabulous blog and enjoy some more pics too. If you happen to live in or nearby Boston then you won't want to miss out on this exhibition, it looks awesome and I'm just hopping it hits the Hippie Trail and goes travelling via London once it has finished its run at the MFA.

I'll love you and leave you with the formidable Aretha Franklin, enjoy :)
Take care peeps, 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Mighty fine mini festival

The other day Frocktasia & Wunderbar Vintage rolled out their rails at the first ever Sunday Mini Festival at The Finsbury. Our lovely pal Mike who was organizing the event had put together an awesome line-up of live bands and solo artists.
Thankfully we got to pitch up outside. I think I would have died indoors.
It was another scorcher of  a day so quite understandably many people decided to hit the park rather than the pub thus customers were rather thin on the ground during the first part of the day.
I was meant to be organizing the vintage market but in all honesty it was Leslie that did most of the organizing, she worked out the floor plan before we even got there, brought all the rails & trestle tables. 
She's is a superstar and the best market buddy anyone could ever wish for. 
I'd been busy making love-beads in the run up to the market & I was giving these away with every purchase. They resulted in lots of smiles, kind words and even hugs & indeed ;)
 My bargain case attracted lots of attention as per usual. I love it when someone is rummaging and all of a sudden their eyes light up cause they've found something they really like for cheaps.
Leslie's gorgeous friend Rachel popped by and hung out for a bit. 
 Leslie had brought some of her Leslie Works handmade wares too. I absolutely love these vintage button & zipper bracelets.
 I love her steampunk collars too, made from vintage lace and trims...
Meg and Bridget having a wee rummage and Mike having his fortune told  by Step Drey  who also happens to be a fabulously talented photographer ;)
 Around four o'clock the trickle of customers turned into a wee flurry as the sun-drunk park revelers, billed artists & their fans started to rock up. Leslie and I switched from enjoying the sun mode to trader mode and managed to make some people very happy with our vintage, retro and handmade wares.
The frock I wore yesterday has actually never had an outing on home soil before. It is the first thing to hit my suitcase when we holiday abroad. I call it my 'Tropical Rose' frock cause it's been with me to the tropics three times. The fabric features a finely perforated  pattern which is perfect for the weather we are having in the UK at the moment. The frock is by Ken Scott who is often referred to as the "Fashion Gardener" because of his trademark use of bold prints and vibrant colours.
Here's the frock in action abroad...
Pitching up alongside us was Antonio Alfaro Sanchez, on-the-spot poet extraordinaire :)
It is probably not a very common thing here in the UK to have to delay something due to good weather but unfortunately the glorious sunshine on Sunday did the indoor goings on of the mini festival no favors whatsoever. Therefore Mike decided to start the live performances a bit later than billed to allow an audience to build up for the acts. It is a very hard task indeed to try and convince people to go indoors when there is a nice late afternoon breeze in the air.
Before anyone took to the stage we were treated to some heavenly harp magic courtesy of  gorgeous Louisa Duggan and then Raff  kicked off the live music on stage followed by Katie Maddox...
 The vintage market started packing up at half seven so we sadly I missed out on the performances of Burton Bradstock and The New Burn. I handed the camera to Mike so that he could snap a few pics. Comparing the event was Andrew Hobbs and there was also some awesome poetry by Stephen Purbeck Howarth.
We were finished packing up just in time to enjoy the amazing Meg Cavanaugh with her awesome band of  (as she puts it in her bio) seasoned musicians. 
On the keyboard rocking a top from Frocktasia and a Bambie pendant from Wunderbar Vintage Miss Bridget Walsh ;)
Then it was time for Mike, Jozef and Simon to hit the stage...
 Needless to say they were brilliant :)
Completing the awesome Sunday Mini Festival line-up were the bonkers good Super Hero Jam...  
It was a really cracking event, I got to hang out with some of my favourite people, peddle my wares and enjoy great music...can it get any better than that?!
It seems to have gone down well with the venue as well as Mike has already booked another date for September, so if you didn't make it this time there will be another opportunity.
The Mini Festival will be back and next time it will be even bigger, bolder and better, yay!

Today Mark had the day off so at lunchtime we sauntered up to the park and lazed about in the shade, had some food, drank some low alcohol cider and did some cloud-spotting.
 Not that there were many clouds to spot ;)
Mark fell asleep and I took some photos of trees, insects and daisies for a bit. Then when I got bored I rudely roused my sleeping beauty and after playing "cherry pip" for a bit we went to feed the ducks who  were swimming around in spinach soup.
Cherry Pip: 
Hold onto the corners of a folded blanket
Put a cherry pip in the middle
Launch the pip into the air and try to catch it again of life's little pleasures ;)
We've got a new friend. Meet Mr. White. He's got something wrong with his wing, poor thing  :(
 Today I cheekily nabbed a frock from the stockroom, just because I can...
Trippy Hippie frock, floppy straw hat, sunnies (car boot sale), scarf (pressie from mum), Vintage button and zipper bracelet (gift made by Leslie Works), Frocktasia love-bead bracelet, vintage necklaces, earrings and copper bangles (from all over the place).
I'll love you and leave you with Opus III, enjoy :)
Hope you also had a mighty fine weekend and an awesome start to the week.
Loads of love,