Friday, 27 May 2011

Schweet Tweet! - outfit post

So -  the self (&The Beard) imposed dress ban is, thus far, an epic fail. The hunt for a nice 40's or 50's looking yellow dress for Swing for Skin continues. Sigh.

You shall note that the below dress is not yellow. But it is covered in glorious little orangy flowers with minty green leaves and delightful tweeting birds.

I saw this homemade late 50's dress on Etsy for a remarkably priced £15 odd plus postage. It came to about £19 in total. Hurrahs! It is a bit more the old me in the unusual print stakes and for that alone I love it. It also fits my bangers in it -  so I officially heart it even more.

AND it goes well with my Minty Green Cardy Dream. Triple lovings.

The hair is decidedly un-coiffed. This is the evening of the "Great Strip", in which my hair went from a red-rooted-brown-ends mess, to bright ginge, to all brown via ColourB4. Hideous post documenting the whole stenching affair to follow soon.

I do love the Disney-esque birds that adorn this frock. They make me smile when I catch a glimpse of them. And I imagine them going "tweet..tweet..tweet".


Could that be any more of a tenuous link to the next bit? I doubt it.  

You may have noticed a couple of new additions to my sidebars. Yes, I have finally pulled my finger out and set up not only a Twitter thingy but also a page upon the FaceBook fandangle. Click on the links to follow or like if you would like more of my witterings. Or to give me a nice, warm feeling of lurve. 

Make yourself a "I am wondrous" badge if you do. Or indeed follow this blog. For that is what you are. Each and everyone of you! I now have 170 followers via Blogger... *swoon*  I keep tripping up my jaw, for it is upon the floor. As advised before... you are wondrous. Very. I thank you tres muchous.

But, I have been a bad blogger of late -  in so much as I am behind. There is the Royal Wedding, the Wisley road trip and the Penny Dreadful Vintage party to come. Apologies for the lack of chronology!

Have fab weekends folks  -  it's a longun'!  Do sun dances people... sun dances!! 

Monday, 23 May 2011

Q&A with Sergy Larenkov

A wee while back I fell a little bit in love. A little bit in love with some pictures. Some pictures created by Sergy Lavenkov. And I gushed about this love in a previous post. I also said that I was in the process of interviewing Mr Larenkov and that I would "post it shortly". I fibbed. And for that I apologise.

But here it be -  a little insight into how and why this delightful man creates his pictures...  

1) What first made you interested in this subject?
When I first created my collages using old postcards, I was struck by the effect [of the presence].

2) How long have you been creating your “windows to the past”?
I created  the first "window" about seven years ago.


3) What is your creation process? Is it started by an old photo that catches your imagination or a particular event, for example?
At first, I choose an interesting photo. This can be either some event or just an interesting old view. Then I take this picture and try to find the same point of shooting. When I make a modern image from the same point, I try to make picture with some {kind of} plot.

4) What is a typical response to your art?
Most of the reviews of my work are very positive. I help people see [the] history. Many offer to show these images on the lessons of history. Very often [they] call these works as "a portal of time".


5) What image that you have created has the most significance for you?
Most significant for me [is] the image of the siege of Leningrad. Both my grandmothers and both my grandfathers lived through [the] siege of Leningrad, fighting and working in the besieged city.

6) Have you ever publicly exhibited your work?
I had two exhibitions in museums of St.Petersburg, and one in France. Now I am preparing third exhibition in St.Petersburg.

7) Have you thought about doing more work, outside of Russia?
It is very interesting for me. As you saw, I took pictures in Berlin, Paris, Prague and Vienna. I think London should be added in this list.

 So, there you have it. I am so pleased that he agreed to do the piece for the blog. This was after I had tracked him down on Facebook and messaged him out of the blue. He was very gracious about the whole thing and happy to let me know a little bit more.

If you have already checked out his Live Journal but would like to see more of the same, then please visit UK chap, Nick Stone on his Flickr site. His technique is inspired by Sergy Larenkos' work - and is commonly becoming known as Blitz Ghosts. Based in and around Norwich, these photo's are on home turf, which for me makes them even more interesting. You can also find this rather glorious site on FaceBook.

Now all we need, is some of London.... 

Pip! Pip!

Hitler:- The Rise of Evil - DVD review


Robert Carlyle stars as the German dictator and leads an all-star cast in this made for TV drama that explores Adolf Hitler's rise to power in prewar Germany during the 1930s.
Motivated by anger and misdirected by ego, Hitler struggles in a world he believes owes him something, enticing Germany in a macabre dance of surrender and control. Emerging from WWI after a stint in the German Army, he accepts their offer to infiltrate and spy on the German Workers' Party. Their nationalism and anti-Semitism match Hitler's virulent personal politics so he strikes while the iron is hot, and by draping his agenda in mythical legends of Aryan superiority, he makes the iron even hotter by repeatedly striking it....


I bought this a while ago, after my Dad recommended it to me. And I am very pleased that he did. I know that I am talking about Hitler here, but I am interested to know more about the man who created the era I am besotted with.

And I feel that this drama does just that. Originally shown in 2 parts on ITV, it is 130 minutes of watching history unfold. I am used to seeing Robert Carlye dancing to Donna Summer in the unemployment que of The Full Monty, or glassing people as Begby in Trainspotting. Well, it is all change for him in this role.

There are other notable actors in this production, but I did not really notice them. Not even Matthew Modene or Stockard Channing, which is rare for me.  Of all the films I have watched containing any incarnation of Adolf Hitler, this is one of the very best.

The transition between the young, WW1 damaged Adolf and the flamboyant, confident Chancellor Hitler that emerged afterwards is clearly depicted. From his boyhood in Austria, his time in the trenches of sodden Flanders, his artistic endeavors and his swift entrance into the wasteland of Germany's political arena - it is all here.

With it comes the beginnings of his anti- Semitic prejudice, starting with the Jewish Doctor who treated his Mother's failing health and including with his Jewish comrades on the front line.

But it is Carlye's twitching, softly spoken, ranting, spitting development of the Fuhrer that makes the lasting impression. Not since Bruno Ganz in The Downfall have I seen such a believable performance.

Albeit not, always, historically correct, it is something to plop into the DVD whirler if you want to whet your whistle when it comes to knowing more about the man behind the tashe. It is not always easy viewing for the more knowledgeable and I found myself huffing at the TV on more than one occasion. But I do believe it to me well worth a watch.

In fact, I highly recommend it.

A 7/10 from me.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Headscarf? On a work day? - outfit post

Oh yes folks. In a burgeoning effort to stop collecting and start using my ridiculous collection of head scarfs, I have begun wearing them to work. And not just for DDF. Being the only outwardly retro girl in the office is common place for me nowadays.

The Woolen, Vintage cardy found in Snooper's Paradise in Brighton, shirt -  i forget!

Colleagues rarely bat an eye in alarm at the outfits I create. Any comments I might receive are nice ones, but  I doubt they would notice if I rocked up wearing a gas mask. They just accept the way I dress as "me". I am sure there are those who find me a bit "weird" -  but they are fairly chav-tastic, so I am disinclined to worry about their opinion.

I digress. This headscarf saved me from a hair day horriblis by drawing attention to itself, rather than my failed curls. Some days are ruled by the collaboration between a piece of patterned silk, the humble bobby pin and their combined ability to make your barnet more presentable.

Hurrahs for the headscarf!!   


Sunday, 15 May 2011

WW2 scones

This book is one of my most prized possessions. Namely because I got it at a car boot for £1 and far more importantly because it was signed in person by Marguerite Patten her very self when I met her at the Imperial War Museum last year. 94 years old she may be, but she is as bright as a button and sharp as a pin. I feel this nation owes her a great deal as she worked tirelessly with The Ministry of Food to produce (mostly) palatable recipes from the rations we had at our disposal. 

I have made quite a few things from this book, which is filled with top ideas and easy to follow instructions, not to mention a plethora of interesting  adverts from the time. Some of these things have been utterly nom-some. Some things have been utterly bin-some. 

The below, you shall be pleased to hear, is the former.

I have doubled the original recipe - mainly because I loathe grating carrot's but I invariably always do too many. But if I am honest with you, they are so yummy I always feel the need to over make. I also add extra baking powder to give them a little more oomph, and call them scones as opposed to their original "cookies" - purely based on the way they come out.

So -  le method...

Let the butter (or marg) sit out so that it is nice and soft and be creamed together with the sugar.

Add the carrot in stages. It will look a little like vomit (nice eh?) at this stage and you may be thinking "This is rank!" -  but stick with it. Also add the vanilla extract at this point. I usually add about 6 drops.

Next add the flour & baking powder -  again in stages. It shall start to look a lot more like a proper mixture the more you work it. As you mix, the carrots will release some of their moisture which shall bind the mixture together.

It shall begin to look like a recognisable dough soon enough and it can be easier to mix by hand. Make sure all the flour is mixed in thoroughly.

Brake off into pieces, roll in your palm and squish down a little bit. Sprinkle a little more sugar on top. Pop them on baking tray and, according to the recipe "...bake in a brisk over for 20 minutes". Or in modern day speak Gas Mark 6 / 200°C.

Depending on your oven  -  bake less if you have a fan assisted -  keep an eye on them. When they are brownish on top, they should be done.

Leave to cool completely and serve with jam or burn your fingers opening them and plop some more butter on top.

Because there is no egg to bind them, they can be a little crumbly, but this does not detract from their yum-ness. They can also be frozen.

*Adapted from The Victory Cookbook

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Sugar + Water + Hair = Curls of Eugh

I seem to be obsessed with putting food stuffs in my hair. I have already made a goo consisting of linseed, with results that I really love.   

There's that manic look in my eyes again. Possibly from listening to too much Kate Bush. Or learning the words to Pass Out by Tinie Tempah

This weeks test is via Tate & Lyle. Yes, folks. Sugar. I shall remain unconvinced about trying flat beer on account of smell. I am not too sure how I feel about the wasp-attracting ability of sugar when it comes to the summer months, though.

But as we are a little way off from full on summer here in Blighty (indeed if we actually get to have one this year), I thought I would give it a go.

Freshly out of the rollers.

I cannot really call this a recipe. It is literally sugar and water. A cup of boiling water and a table spoon of sugar, stirred until disolved. How simple is that? Like making a very sweet cup of tea - but forgetting the tea-bag. I let the liquid cool and then decanted it into a spray bottle.

One side combed out.

And off I went a setting my rollers after spraying and combing through. This all seemed fine - until the mist that didn't reach my hair, but landed on my arms, began to dry. I might be a bit dim (no comments, please) but I had not expected it to be quite a sticky as it was. As was the floor. And the loo. And the sink. It was like a scene from a cheap night club. If you are gong to try this, then I would cover things up with towels or something and wear a long sleeved top. And socks.

All combed out. And crunchy.

But for me, I am unconvinced that there shall be a next time for this method. Whilst I truly loved the Day 1 results, the texture of my hair was atrocious. It did hold the curl all day, which I was really pleased with...

End of Day 1

Day 2, however, was a different story. Whilst it was still curled, I loathed touching it. As I was combing it out, the air was sweet and my hands were tacky. Which does not bode well in my mind for the potential of using this in the summer. I feel it would forever ducking, diving, running and shrieking away from various winged beasties with needles for bums.

Day 2. Eugh.

Day three, I could take it no more and washed it all out. I think that if you have a much shorter length hair than me, then this might work a treat for you.

But for me, this is the first and last time I shall try this. Everytime I moved my hair, I could taste sweetness in the air. Like when you open a box of icing sugar and you breathe some of the powder in through your mouth.

In conclusion, application was simple, but the clean up only added to the time it took and my hair felt like candyfloss. Fail.

If anyone uses this method regularly, I salute you!

ps) written before The Chop. But my opinion has not changed. Sugar for me shall remain in tea & cakes. Not on my bonce.

We'll Meet Again - ITV Drama - Review

This critically acclaimed wartime drama is an epic adventure of love, friendship and courage during the Second World War. In a quiet Suffolk village, life is disrupted when the 525th Bomber Group of the United States Eighth Air Force with its Flying Fortress bombers, its two thousand Officers and its energy and confidence arrive. Despite cultural differences between the brash Americans and the reserved but resilient villagers of Market Wetherby, they pull together to face the common enemy. We'll Meet Again is not only a story of romance but of hardship, fear and sacrifice. Poignant and moving the reality behind this fictional drama makes it more so.


I saw this in a charity shop for the bargain price of £3.99 and, assured by my other half that I would "love it", I thought I would give it a bash.  For that meagre amount of money, how wrong could I be?

Turns out, very. Very, very wrong. Whilst I find the idea of this 1980's WW2 drama something that should interest me, I could not wait for each episode to be over. The editing is awful -  even for the 80's -  and most of the acting is questionable, if not a little bit cringe-some. Which is a real shame.

There were parts of it that I did like.  I loved the relationships between the GI's, for example - perhaps because I love things like "Band of Brothers" for the same reason. And there is ample cardy/hair envy to be had for us ladies. I even liked the late Susannah York's protagonist of Mrs Dereham, to a degree. It also uses original footage in certain scenes that are cut into the show to make it look more realistic. There was a lot of bomber footage I have not seen before. Tres bon.
But for me, it just did not cut the mustard. I found myself mocking more than watching -  from the 80's stage makeup on the actors to the over exaggerated west country accents.

I have read the reviews on various sites where you can purchase this for your very own and it scores very highly. On closer inspection I realise that a lot of the reviews are from people who loved it first time round and it is a pure nostalgia trip to watch it again. But, do not be fooled by the rave reviews it seems to be getting.

I realise that I am watching this with 2011 eye's and was not expecting it to be HBO slick. But I was expecting something watchable that would perhaps engage me, leaving me less time to note it's faults. Alas.

That said it is of it's time and should not be expected to be anything but quaint. But for me and this DVD, we shall not meet again. Back to the charity shop it goes.

A disappointed 4/10

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Jumble Boogie

This is a new dance I have recently discovered. It involves strong toes, sharp elbows and a iron will. It may occasionally call for the participant to forget how to smell, be polite and have regard for small children.  

Variations of the Jumble Boogie are also known as The Yard Sale Stomp,  The Thrift Stall Swing, The Car Boot Hop or the Estate Sale Jive.

I recently attended my first proper Jumble Sale as a grown up. I don't know how I have missed so many of these in my adult life, really, I don't. The last one I remember was when I was about 7 and "Blue Peter" were raising money for something or other in the form of a "Bring & Buy Sale". I remember the excitement. The smell of unwashed plastic toys.The treasure before me that was too much to bear. I had a whole golden pound in my sweaty palm and I blew the lot on a rabid Sindy and her mangy horse. Oh. Those were the days.

Circa 1987. Dear Lord. Is that a shell suit puffa jacket??

My tastes are more refined nowadays. It's all about the cups, plates, jars, vases, teapots and clothing I might find. And the sale I queued 45 -  yes, four five -  minutes for on a sunny Saturday afternoon had all of the above in spades. Thus follows shamefully happy pictures of my trove. Inflation has hit hard since the late 80's, but still... for under £10, I am not complaining. The flea bitten toys were still there, being bought by children who evidently felt that they had found the address of Lord Lucan.

Here follows pictures. Pictures which show, to my amused embarrassment, my subliminal love of roses.

This little milk jug is currently home to a dying spider plant.

This now contains some cat grass. Which is lovingly nommed by the Mempf

I have no idea how old this is, but, ooooh I love it so. Not for use. Just for gazing at.

Some more, much needed you understand, Depression Glass. In amber. Oooooh purty!

More things I have no need of. Except as a pen pot at work... and maybe something to keep paperclips in.

I also nabbed some clothes - 12 items for the princely sum of £2.80. Don't mind if I do! I then made the fatal mistake of pottering about the charity shops. If you feel that the prices are on the up in your local chazza establishment, this shall only be mortally compounded if you visit some after a whizz round your local church hall. 

I realise now, that much practice is needed on a floor where expert dancers are reveling in the Jumble Boogie. I need to refrain from being British and apologising. I was shoved out of the way on more than one occasion. I have to understand that if you look weak, you shall be trampled in favor of a jumper for 30p.  

I must learn to station The Beard (who looked like a hedgehog in the outside lane of the M25) a safe distance away so I can leave items with him and return to the dance refreshed and unladen with clothes. I noted the seamless movements of the students that were there and shall follow suit. This consisted of a massive tote bag at their feet, into which they were shoveling anything that took their fancy. They then retreated into a corner to pick the items they wanted and threw (literally) the rest back into the melee. They are wise. I shall learn their wisdom.

But, my first furore into the whirling dervish of second, possibly eighth, hand goods for sale in a overcrowded church hall has not scared me away. I am avidly hunting out the next one in my area.

Now... I just need to decide how much I like my toes, sharpen my elbows, lose the "no.. after you.. I insist's" and  come to terms with the idea of pushing an old lady over for a lovely looking teacup....

Jumble Boogie rocks!   

Sunday, 1 May 2011

May Day Blessings

Well hello there! It has been a long weekend of cake & cheering  -  but more on that in the next post. Truth is, I cannot even think about buttercream or jam without wanting to heave.

Today's post is loosely about one of the few Pagan celebrations I actually do anything for. Beltane. Festival of fire and lust. But again, only when I remember. And it is only ever simple. Being outside during the day and lighting candles at night. Having pink & white flowers in the house with a mixture of green foliage. Making a simple offering. I might make a special meal. I might order a take away. There's that lax-ness again.

But there are many things that I see round and about in my daily life that make me think of The Gods - mainly the feminine side -  but sometimes both. And that's what the 1st of May is all about. The joining of the two to bring forth the summer and the harvest. Think of it as cosmic humping.

So, it is the humble Dandelion that shows me both sides of Divinity. I am a huge fan of wild flowers. Poppies, Daises, Bluebells, Thistles even Cow-Parsley. But I have to confess to loving the Dandelion almost as much as the Poppy.

Not only does it ooze vitamins A, B, C and D, it is also loaded with zinc and iron. And edible. Killing them off with nasty pesticides because they ruin your crazy paving? Stop, pick and nom*. Sorted.   

But the true reason behind this love is it's symbolism. The Sun / God represented in the yellow, solar-obeying flower that to me brightens any swathe of green on a summer's day. And then the Moon / Goddess is the lunar looking seed head that is left behind. The duality of the Divine in one little flower. How more simplistic could it be?

Having more of a feminine leaning when it comes to my spirituality, it is the dandelion "clock" that attracts me more. I love blowing the seeds off into the wind, sending a wish with them as they go, hoping that when they land they plant themselves into reality. Perhaps if I stop wishing for silly things like a million smackers or smaller feet, the wishes might come true! *sigh*

So, enjoy your Bank Holiday Monday in the UK  -  it is thanks to the age old celebration of May 1st that we still have it today. Hurrahs!

*eat at own risk. Wash thoroughly first. Dog wazz is not at all palatable.  


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