A Cotswold Weekend

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So for a break I took myself off to a little corner of the Cotswolds for a few days, staying just outside of Bourton-on-the-water.

My cottage for the week consisted of a converted barn next to an old mill. Down a long ‘private’ road before turning onto a long white gravel road. Lined with planted oak trees and those natty stone mushrooms. Round the back streams and weirs ran pass the house and all around it was just so very peaceful.

Upon arrival, I was directed to the cottage by the owner calling to me from her upstairs window. She must’ve been 200 years old, her wig was hanging off all wonky, but she seemed very sweet. Later one of her minions was watering the plants told me this is how she communicates to them- coo-ing from the window. I suggested they get walkie-talkies, but the fella turned pale, ‘for gods sake don’t suggest that!’

Inside the theme was a bit too ‘dead animal’ for my taste. Along with the dead rugs, antlers, horns and bits of animals, there was a vast amount of vintage books, an eclectic mix of art ranging from antique oil paintings, to what looked like decades old A-level art projects, and a faded, framed cut-out from the Sunday Times life and style section featuring romantic getaways such as Barbados, the Algarve and, erm, this very cottage! Meanwhile on the roof, crows ran up and down tapping at the skylights, and never, ever stopping crowing.

But vague mustiness aside it was just right for some peace and quiet (crows aside) lounging around.

There was a lovely little secluded, walled garden, with scented honeysuckle and a near tropical view from the window. One evening I sat in the fading light on the wee patio when there was a rustle in the trees. Two little bunnies popped in next to me. The look of their face was one of sheer horror when they noticed people. We stared at each other for a beat until I broke the spell.

‘hello bunnies’
RUN, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES’

and off they went.

Bourton-on-the-water.

Bourton is pretty much tourist central. Although summer, I was still off-season but there were coachloads of people everywhere.
And who can blame them. The whole tiny town is full of picturesque houses made form the sandy coloured Cotswold stone and roses and hanging baskets around the doors. The river Windrush meanders it’s way through the centre, merely inches deep. In warmer weather you will find people paddling. Low stone footbridges criss-cross every few metres as people stroll from ice-cream shop, to gift shop, to riverside pub and back again. You won’t find any ‘normal’ shops here other than a little newsagent but gotta shout out to a local hardware shop called Hartwells. Tourist tat (keyrings, name plaques, little paper baggies of ‘duck food’) at the front, shoe-boxes of nails and screws and other miscellany at the back. Places like that are on the endangered list and sadly so.

OTOH if you want a tiny scrap of wood (made in china), painted white with a aspirational quote on it (‘dance like the ducks aren’t judging you’) then you are in the right place!

And as such barely metres from the high street, a little sign said ‘public footpath’, ooh where does this go? Past a couple of houses and out into open ground! Fields to one side, the river, barely a stream really, to the other. Just a patch-ground of wild flowers and grasses. In many other places this might have an abandoned shopping trolley and plastic bottles. Not so here. The well worn path likely a popular route for local dog walkers and schoolkids. I did begin to wonder if it was going to cross the river before I reached fosse way, when a teeny tiny, ivy covered bridglet appeared. Skirting round some more back gardens it brought me back out onto the high street.
This I love, the local lanes and back paths, with pockets of wildlife.

But it’s not just cuteness and tat! Oh no, Bourton actually has a ton of interesting places. The model railway, the perfumery, the maze, the model village. The only grade two model village in the country, featuring a replica of…Bourton-on-the-water! Its all a bit meta tbh, and all very good.

As the Windrush heads out of town it diverts into Birdland, where penguin and flamingos frolic with the local ducks.

Also the Motor and Toy museum. This was much better than I thought it would be. I’m not really into cars, but as this crammed into ye olde town mill it was more like someone’s epic personal collection. In amongst the 1920’s cars, were equal-vintage caravans, random cabinets containing just about anything from the era (gramophone needles, powder puffs) and all the tin advertising signage that has ever existed. Meanwhile in ‘Windrush alley’ there was a brief history of Bourton, before we headed of into the toy section which was largely some bizarre toy bikes.

I really liked it because it was so crazy and fun.

Stow on the wold.

I drove through stow on my way the cottage, and i’ve been through it before. I always thought the likes of me were not allowed out of the car there. Passing through only, what with shops selling expensive wood burner stoves and Gloucester Old Spot sausages….

Well, no. what a disappointment. The fact that the town car park is at tescos (although free, I will give them that), is not a good sign. Then there was the lack of anything interesting there. Had I been woefully misinformed? Where were the antique bookshops? Anything museumy? Maybe I missed a street of two? It’s possible, but every time I went down a street it kept coming out at Scotts of Stow. You’ll know of them. Their catalogues fall out of magazines, and they sell good old fashioned household goods, like table top plate warmers, cellular blankets and Portmerion china.

Not being in the mood for a new acrylic blanket or an overpriced scone I think the most exciting thing was they appeared to have a brand new postbox outside the post office.

Maybe it was the drizzle but sorry Stow, I don’t know if I went wrong or you did.

Walking

There were walking tracks everywhere around me. One public right of way went right through the mill where I was staying. Follow it one way, it skirts the owners tennis courts, behind the garden wall and heads off into Bourton around fenced off fish ponds. Turn off at the gate and it cuts right through the sewage works before climbing over the fields. That was…interesting. And pungent. Literally fenced in by high barbed wire for about 50 metres between ponds of stirring, stinky, sludge.

Turn round and take the path the other way and you have two choices. I had a map. And actual proper one and a ‘walk ideas’ one from the tourist office. It was suppose to lead me over several fields and gates, up hill, to a tiny speck of village with a ye olde church containing a maze.
But as is usually the case when I try and follow maps, somewhere it all goes wrong.
It was going right. It was all so very pretty. Lovely little hay meadows, wild flowers everywhere, meadow brown butterflies, blue damselflies, birds singing. Proper gates with massive handles – it was also a bridleway so I suppose this is so one doesn’t have to dismount- and little yellow public right of way signage. All good. But then at the top of the hill, past an interesting rusty old shack, all signage and gates and and noticeable paths just disappeared. I checked and checked again. I was in the right place, but the route wasn’t.

Crap. So I backed tracked and took the other path. Through a green wheat field into a steep uphill grass meadow, filled with deep red flowers called great burnet. This is a sign of healthy, uncontaminated land. And so very pretty. At the top is the village church (not the church I was aiming for originally), with beautiful views over the valley toward Bourton. The church dates from the 12th century, and seemed oddly isolated from the village. The footpath down to the village, bordered on both sides with more wonderful wild flowers in bloom, meets with a gate over the stream. Traditionally a groom it supposed to lift his bride over the gate.

The village in question was as cute as I expected. A red phone box turned out to be a mini ‘take-one-leave-one’ library. Turning off the through road, past an old village spring, at the end of a residential lane the village just ended and I followed another yellow arrow along a bean field. Another gate brought me into someone’s fancy back paddock adjoining fancy gardens. Easy walking this, cropped grass and downhill! With more views across the trees the path ended at the main road, opposite the mill road.

All the time I met with other walkers and dog walkers, but it was all so immensely quiet and wonderful. I think I saw more butterflies in those few hours than I’ve seen all year!

I only had a couple of days, but the Cotswold has a lot more interesting places, The Slaughters, a pair of villages the other side of Fosse way, Burford and the wildlife park, Broadway tower, Snowshill manor and more.

Maybe next time.

ps. I apologise for the poor formatting in this post. wordpress was giving me such grief tryna edit. it has literally taken half a dozen goes to post this. I haven’t posted in a year, and based on this, I won’t for another year. lol.

laters loafers.

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Bathing Beauties

Hello loafers, it’s been a while. I wish I could say I’ve been busy, but mostly I’ve just been loafing around. And what better way to loaf around than in your vintage swimming costumes.

These 1920’s babes have got a whole harlequin/circus theme going on. It’s awesome, I wish it was in colour.

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Although if you do colour, it must be coordinated.

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This is simple yet classic. And that’s just the pool toy.

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And although these guys appear to be checking each other out, I just don’t think those swimsuits are skimpy enough….

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…ah, that’s more like it!

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Meanwhile this lot seem a little confused between car and boat, but again, how awesome are those swimsuits?

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Although, when it comes down to it, who doesn’t want to be a mermaid?

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pictures via google, none are mine etc.

Enjoy your swim,loafing friends. Remember, no splashing, no heavy petting, no sensible swimwear.

 

Tiny Little Stuff

For some reason, teeny tiny little things appeal to me. Maybe its a throwback to dolls houses, or lego? But I’m not the only one. There are lots of artists working with teeny tiny figures, lurking in our giant sized world.

As usual, none of these pictures are mine. I’ve culled them from various places from all over the interwebs. Shout out to Slinkachu, Buzzfeed and MessyNessyChic for most of these.

Lets start with a tiny breakfast

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Then maybe a toastie for lunch. a toastie the size of a matchstick!

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A spot of afternoon tea ‘n’ cake?

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And a healthy salad for tea.

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This is how wotsits are made.

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And grapes

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Now, watch out for those teeny tiny yobs out there.

And think of the poppy sellers

Don’t forget to stop by the pet shop

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Everywhere you go, there’s kids causing trouble

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I think it’s time for a holiday.

Maybe a bit of mountaineering?

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Or kayaking?

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Or just relax by the pool,

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And enjoy the tiny bakery in a book. Because, books n cakes…what’s not to love?

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Keep it tiny fellow Loafers.

We’re all going on a summer holiday…

Well it’s that holiday time of year again, and Ladyloafer has booked a trip down memory lane.

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As a child my family holidays involved camping in a huge 1970’s style orange frame tent, or sometimes we’d stay in a static caravan park.

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It’s worth noting before we go any further that, thankfully for all involved, none of my families olde worlde pictures are online, so none of these pictures are mine. Those kids aren’t me and my family, but they could be! In fact despite this disclaimer, I’m not entirely sure that orange tent and princess car combo, isn’t actually us!

So anyway, the most fun stuff on these campsites was maybe one of these bad boys

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or perhaps this death-trap-waiting-to-happen

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At a caravan park you might get the most awesome pool in the world

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A couple of times we stayed in chalet parks. Such luxury!

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Although I can’t recall anything as grim as that postcard. More like

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Although one time we went to Butlins. Butlins! It had a monorail!

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Wow! And a decent pool.

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“Our true intent is all for your delight”.

That’s just beautiful. *wipes emotional tear from eyes*

(and yes I’m not entirely sure those 2 venues are the same. Artistic licence, for your delight)

We didn’t always go to Wales. Sometimes we’d go to Bournemouth, or Devon.

There was a slimmer chance of sunshine there. Not Wales bashing, just my childhood memory. A week in August = raining.

Yep, nothing is as much fun as sharing a caravan with your family, in the pissing rain, playing snakes and ladders, and with the TV only able to pick up 2 channels if you can line up the portable aerial right, and worse knowing you were missing the final episode of your favourite TV programme, and your dad wouldn’t let you set the video while you were away because everything at home must be unplugged.

Sorry, having a flashback there. #notbitter

Where was I? Ah yes, Wales in the rain.

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Sitting on Tenby beach (the one with the sewage pipe, not the giant rock) the wind howling around the 3 sided wind break. In my cossie, but freezing bloody cold and wrapped in two towels.

Yep, fond memories.

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Once the sun was out, it was time to expose your pasty english skin to the UV. Sunblock? Ha, back then it was all about the tanning oil…which was just great for getting sand stuck all over you while burying your little sister in the sand.

And after that hard work you might want to get an ice cream. Back then, unless there was some fancy-pants local brand (Dragon Cones or something. Who knows maybe this is an actual thing?), there was two makes of ice cream.

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Walls did 10p Sparkles, Mini milks and Strawberry splits

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and Lyons Maid did Zooms, Fabs and those square slabs of vanilla ice cream your put into a square cone.

And of course if Mum was feeling really generous, 99 flakes from the ice cream van.

After your Fab you might fancy spending your holiday money (basically an advance on pocket-money) on some seaside keepsakes.

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These were brilliant if you were feeling rich.

But not as good as

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Once into my teens I so desperately wanted our family holiday to line up with the ultimate seaside experience

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The Radio 1 Roadshow.

But no. So close on occasion, but no.

Instead we might go to a summer theatre show.

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I don’t think we saw either of these particular shows, but I do remember Little and Large and Michael Barrymore! Oh yes, top acts!

Yes the family summer holiday is a time where memories are made, ice cream is eaten, sunburn/chilblains itch and squirrels break into your tent and steal your bread.

Happy summer loafers!

Usual disclaimer; all of these pictures have been plucked from the internet at large. If anyone wants credit or removal, let me know. Because god knows old holiday photos are embarassing enough without random strangers putting them in a blog!

Bizarre Beasts

So you know how it is, one minute you’re googling around watching kitten videos and suddenly you’re in the weird section of the internet, involving things you never knew existed, like mermaid erotica for instance. Yes that is a thing, and no I didn’t click on it!

And it seems that the ‘weird section’ existed in medieval times too.

Although, to be fair to those olden days  artists they quite probably had never seen an actual elephant or crocodile, but nevertheless some of these pictures are surely the work of a bored monk. Who also enjoyed a bit of mermaid fun….

So to kick off, an elephant. An elephant with no ears but an awesome trunk.

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This one looks more like it, in a historically accurate face off with a dragon.
edit-31370-1409181037-6A crocodile? Lizard? It doesn’t look too happy that it doesn’t know what it is.

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A hedgehog? A scary, sad hedgehog. And what is that doodle above it? A dog-dolphin?

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An owl with a people face. No wonder the other birds are fighting him. I wonder if this is what the artist was supposed to be drawing, or if they thought, ah stuff it, I’ll make it up…

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Ok, at least these guys look like cats chasing mice. I do like the mouse that is escaping from the page.

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A cat snail. Snail cat?

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Then the weirdness starts. A monkey with an arrow up its bum. Yep.

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Animal band. Trumpets however are a thing of strangeness…

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Because they’re bum trumpets. Obviously.

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And not confined to animals…

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Because everyone loves a fart ‘n’ poo gag…

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Except these people.

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And then of course, ye olde internet turns to filth. Because this always happens in the end.

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I mean, what??

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errr….

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!!!!!

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And there we have it. Full circle to mermaid erotica. If that’s your thing. Which apparently it was in medieval times!

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Happy Medieval Loafing!

Flashback Friday

When Ladyloafer was a little girl, comics were all the rage. Not superheroes like Spiderman or ‘boys’ comics like the Beano, but comics for girls like Tammy, Mandy, Nikki and so on. Over the years they merged with each other before disappearing into nowhere around the turn of the century (that’s 15 years ago!!! How did that happen?)

One short-lived comic was ‘Dreamer’. It lasted about 2 years, then merged with ‘Girl’.

Ladyloafer (who claims to be a minimalist declutter-er, *ahem*) has still got her collection of these comics from back in the day.

I’ve been having a rummage and taken some photos. One day, if I get a scanner I’d love to actually scan the stories and post them, but you can all breathe a sigh of relief, it’s just covers and adverts for now.

But even so, let me take you back through the mists of time, *makes swirly motion with hands*, to the glory days of

Dreamer for girls.

This was issue #2. I never had issue #1.

But could that image be more 80’s if it tried? (from a little girls point of view; rainbows, cool roller boots, flippy hair.)

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What’s that? Cut-out fashion special?

You mean this…

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I can’t help but wonder if this is where I first found my love of ‘capsule wardrobes’ from? Blimey ‘they’ got me young.

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The covers were gorgeous. Some vaguely resembled the characters in the story; this does like a bit like ‘Shari King, Shark Girl’ (her dad ran an aquarium, she bonded with the sharks!)

But this doesn’t like much like Princess Perdita. (stolen by gypsies, princess by birth!)

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And this isn’t much like Cassie…

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Cassie’s Kids was one of my favourites. You know why? Because I missed the last instalment! Noooooo. *so sad, I’ll never know if her family were reunited*

However this picture looks just like Suzy and Sarah, the tug of love twins. (basically it was the same story as ‘The Parent Trap’)

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That’s mainly because this was a photo story with actual models to copy, and the others above were drawn stories.

The comics were generally about half and half this. The drawing artists were the same artists who drew for all the other comics.

But it wasn’t just stories. There was a letters page, and pop star and cute animal posters (Sheena Easton! Bucks Fizz!), and competitions.

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Yep, back in the day toys were far more gender neutral. A competition for children. Not boys or girls specifically.

And smoking was bad for you too!

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But how cool are these ‘digital’ watches? I so wanted one.

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Nearly as much as I wanted this hair slide. In fact I think maybe I did have it…

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And loving this look!  Mmm velvet knickerbockers and a ruffle sailor shirt…

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And onesies! Banana onesies!

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So many flashbacks going on here. Skating around in a circle to ‘Fame’ at the roller disco, sticker collections, playing ‘40/40’ in the street, not understanding the rude bits in ‘Grease’….

 Ah yes. Heady days indeed loafers. The good old days. Or something.

Photos are mine but the comics, adverts etc are all by IPC magazine. If they even still exist.

Old Romantics

So apparently it’s Valentines Day tomorrow. Saint Valentines Day even, although according to wiki St Valentine is barely recognised by the Catholic church as a Saint and most of the legends are medieval made-uppery.

Not that LadyLoafer cares, for I have a heart of stone. Pure granite where all the mushy romance stuff is concerned (she says oh-so bitterly), so lets, erm celebrate with some olde time vintage Valentines cards.

 Nothing say romance more than spouse abuse…val1Especially with lethal weapons….

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Or even old-fashioned threats…

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Or  just plain scare tactics..

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And some traditional misogyny

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At least animals know how to romance

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Even mushrooms too!

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And clocks, and toasters,

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Lets have some big cheese with that toast.

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Happy Valentines Day Loafers!

Disclaimer: Remember, spouse abuse and threatening behaviour is wrong, Loafers. It’s just not funny.

Also, as usual none of these pics are mine. Some came from Buzzfeed, some from Pinterest, some are just wafting around the internets.

Travel the World

Ladyloafer has always wanted to travel but frankly I’m too lazy. Also it’s not like it used to be right? All security checks and cattle class travel. Ladyloafer dreams of the days of glorious travel, when ladies wore gloves and waving your passport in the air exclaiming ‘I’m British, let me through’ would’ve worked!

So let us take a world tour via the lazy medium of beautiful vintage travel posters.

We’ll start in Ireland. A place so wonderful you’ll need a magnifying glass to find it on your globe.

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OK, now to Europe. That’s a rather inconvenient travel guide they’ve got there. Why don’t they just use their i-phones eh?

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So lets start north. Sweden, where the girls are really horny. (‘cos she’s blowing a giant horn, no? Hmm, hmm…I’ll get me coat). And it’s a Mecca too. Not like actual Mecca though?

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We’ll popover to the ‘USSR’ for some animal torture. Or we could not do animal murder and go to an art gallery or something.

But still, USSR. How retro.

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across on the ferry…

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…to Austria. (Wait, does Austria even have a coast? I think my map is broken)

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But look at that death-defying cable car! Awesome.

Even better if serenaded by a roaming oompa band!

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There’s pristine snow.

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And then we’ll take the train to Switzerland.

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Then onto France and Portugal. Where even the people are made of sunshine.

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This world tour is so exciting! Time to leave Europe and head for the middle east. How about the oh so sophisticated and trendy and above all safe* Syria, Lebanon and Palestine?

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We’ll head east now, to ‘The Orient’. Wow that sounds so exotic, and the people there look just like Fisher-Price minifigs, no?

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India. Looks beautiful…

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…and Netherlands India…erm, what now?

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Stop by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Because, tropical fishies.

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Then back to ‘The Orient’ for Japan. Although it looks a bit dizzying.

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From the east, back to the west and the glaciers of Alaska. If they haven’t melted yet.

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Down to Mexico, to warm up by an exploding volcano. Hmm, is this a good idea?

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And finally, we end our world tour in downtown Chicago. Which I think may have its own volcano looking at those clouds….

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There we have it. A world tour through vintage posters, without none of that actual getting up off the sofa to travel. It’s the loafing way people!

Happy loafing.

Usual disclaimer, none of these pictures are mine, I think I got them from Buzzfeed.

*Also, I’m sure the actual people of the middle east are mostly lovely, just like everywhere, no offense intended. In fact one day, if the warmongers of the world give it a rest I’d love to actually visit these places.

Retro Food

It’s that time of year when Ladyloafer thinks about dieting. Actually Ladyloafer thinks about dieting most of the time, but then reaches for a biscuit.

So how about some mid-century (that’ll be last century) classics to get us through the winter? Be warned, there’s a lot of gelatine involved.

We’ll start with the basics; lime jelly with a filling of cottage cheese, mayonnaise and grated onion. Serve with seafood salad. mmmm…..

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Then we’ll move on to Tuna and Jelly pie. Yes jelly pie, but not in a good dessert way. Oh no, this pie has a cheese crust with a tomato-lemon gelatine centre and a tuna salad top.

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 In fact I reckon savoury jelly is the key to a good diet. It’ll put you off eating for days.

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Yep jelly for salads. Hell, why not jelly for everything, hmm?

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Even baked beans. I have one question?

Whhhhhyyyyyyy?

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I think I need a bit of stodge now. Maybe some potato salad? Salad you can slice, yeah?

Although I do like the pretty veg ‘flowers’. Very creative. Possibly to distract you from the wierdness of your ‘salad loaf’?

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Maybe some fish now? A prawn tree! That’s what’s missing from my dinner table!

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Or a hotdog, pineapple, stew thing. I have no idea. Nor do I really want to tbh.

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Now for a snack, beverage, light meal. Or all three in one glass.

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It really is too much. I don’t think I can handle this diet. I need cake, doughnuts maybe? But not any old doughnuts. Vitamin doughnuts. This means they’re good for you, right? Excellent.

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Happy dieting Loafers!

Sources for this pics are various and as usual not properly linked. I know Buzzfeed was involved and http://www.midcenturymenu.com/. None of these pictures are mine, etc etc.

Vintage Winter

Ladyloafer loves a bit of vintage. And as WinterFest continues it’s time for the ski season (at least it would be if I was cool. Still a loafer can dream.)

So how about some Vintage Skiwear?

From 1900, his n hers.

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1906 chic
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1908 it’s all about the accessories. In this case, a horse!

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1935 classic Austrian style

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1944 French style. Or possibly ‘hammertime’ with those trousers.

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1945 Idaho USA. I kind of hope they’re tights she’s wearing. Either that or she has super soft, hairy legs to keep her warm.

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Still I suppose she could always go for the Apres-ski hot-dog.

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Or the 1947 quasi-futuristic look.

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Ladyloafer loves this 1949 floral knitwear and pink sungoggles look.

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However this 1970’s ensemble….hmm, I’m really not sure.

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Happy Ski-ing Loafers!

From http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2015/jan/02/off-piste-a-hilarious-history-of-skiwear-in-pictures