I had a wonderful morning, entertaining everyone at Kidderminster Station, The Severn Valley Railway today! I felt like I should be singing a slightly puntastic rendition of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ (🎼purple train, purple traaaaaaaain…).
The Taw Valley was in desperate need of a repaint, so SVR decided to temporarily paint her purple for the Platinum Jubilee and Commonwealth Games. Along with this colourful transformation, the loco has been renamed Elizabeth II.
Although the unique engine was unfortunately quite a way from the platform edge, I was lucky enough to be able to have a few snaps taken on the track itself! I’m sure many puffer nutters and chuff chuff buffs will be shaking their heads in dismay at the non-traditional shade of the Elizabeth II locomotive, but I thought it was a jolly tribute and a splash of well needed colour after the last couple of years of Covid AND the recent cancellations of many wartime railway events due to the Ukrainian war.
As well as the No.70 Elizabeth the stunning Lady of Legend is also working at the Platinum Jubilee event! Parts of a Hall class loco were used to create the magnificent Saint class at Didcot and the works were completed in 2019. She is an absolute beauty as you can see!
Be sure to join me again tomorrow at 10am and 11am for more rock n roll on the concourse!
Today was another milestone for Betsy as she lost her first tooth! It is an occasion of huge excitement for the children in her school, when they loose their baby teeth. I think most of my classmates (and myself) just suffered from shock when we lost our teeth. I know there was always floods of tears and a blood spotted paper towel anyway.
Betsy and I have been eager for her 2 bottom incisors to come out for a good month. They jostled about like a couple of rodeo bulls in a rowing boat, but did they want to depart? Not on your nelly. Betsy got so frustrated one day that we even tied some cotton to the wobbliest tooth and the other end to Lucy’s cat collar. The aim was to throw a pipe cleaner, cat would leap to catch it, tooth would come flying out, we would become viral video millionaires. We just happened to pick the one day Lucy was taking a sabbatical from her usual merry making.
Finally one of the teeth decided to follow the light and today, at 3.15pm she lost her very first tooth. Huge excitement as it was placed in to a little brown envelope for safe keeping. I went to congratulate Betsy and share in the excitement… only to be collared by several classmates…
“Did you know that the Tooth Fairy gives £5 for your first tooth?!”
“I got a toy when mine came out!”
“I got money AND a toy!”
When I was little I think the tooth fairy only came a few times and I was happy with my 10p, but is the excitement and magic in the money? Or the fact that A FAIRY HAS BEEN SUMMONED TO TAKE YOUR BABY TEETH FROM UNDER YOUR PILLOW?! A frigging FAIRY! The magic should be aimed at this, not financial gain in exchange for you baby molars surely?
From that moment (sorry Betsy!) I decided that she would get the odd coin, but mostly things to fuel her imagination! I wrote her a teeny tiny letter with a fountain pen (it took 5 attempts, but worth it) and bent a bit of broken jewellery to look like a little crown. I can just imagine her face when she reaches under her pillow and finds and actual letter from the Tooth Fairy! She is going to be so excited!
Although popping money under their pillow may be quick and simple, don’t forget how precious children’s imaginations are; especially in this age of instant entertainment. Hold onto these amazing moments for as long as you can and help spread a little magic (and good dental hygiene) for the kiddies in your life.
Don’t look at me like that! I know I haven’t posted anything for a while and I’m so sorry.
Last weekend we travelled up to Yorkshire to a BRAND NEW steampunk event in the Victorian seaside town of Saltburn by the Sea.
What a hidden gem this place is! The buildings are beautiful and wait until you see the beach! It looks nothing from the cliff top, but once you have descended the many steps (the tram is not working unfortunately), you are met with a fabulous view of the pier and Victorian seaside buildings in red and cream.
There are wonderfully colourful beach huts to bring cheer to even the gloomiest day, mini golf and THE BEST FISH AND CHIPS I’VE EVER HAD!
At the top of the hill is a pretty walkway with flowerbeds called Marine Parade Gardens, which features a ‘grotto’ called Jack’s Castle.
There is also a metal statue of Henry Pease, who founded the resort. From the railway station to the pier, this entrepreneur has an amazing vision and not only succeeded in creating it, but wanted to make sure that lower-paid workers of the nearby mines could afford to holiday there. You can find out all about Henry Pease and his family here.
So back to the main event! The entertainment, stalls and other steampunk delights took place at Saltburn House. The hotel was originally built in the late 1800’s by the Pease family as a convalescent home for their workers. It was later used to house a local school that had burned down and then used as a working men’s club for affordable 2 week breaks for its members. it now remains a working men’s club and and was a great base for the Steampunk weekend. With the main town, station, gardens and beach just a walk away, it was the perfect location.
We met some wonderful people at the event and the locals that came to watch the entertainment we’re friendly, enthusiastic and welcoming! There were a fantastic selection of stall at the event, but annoyingly I didn’t take pictures of them!!!
I do have some other photos I need to go through on my camera, which also include other entertainers, so I will post them up ASAP.
Thank you so much to everyone who watched me perform and were so understanding about my poorly throat. We didn’t want to leave! I have been booked again for next year’s show, so I hope to see even more of you there. Much love xxx
WARNING! Not appropriate for under 18 years of age.
Yet again I was lucky enough to shoot with the unrivalled Neil ‘Kez’ Kendall in Chester. His sets are a feast for the eyes, with props, theatrical backdrop and jaw dropping scenery. Whether Nez has skilfully crafted it himself, or commissioned special pieces from one of his many talented associates, everything has been lovingly created and then set up like a professional set designer.
I had a complete nightmare with figuring out an outfit for this shoot. I am CRAZY about fairies, so didn’t want to regret my choice. I usually wear my preraphaelite ensemble, but wanted a more vintage pinup vibe for this shoot mixed with 1930’s.
My first outfits came and they were horrendous! Cheap and nasty knock offs from a website that mysteriously vanished when I tried to complain. This is the second time I’ve been duped by fake websites and I won’t order anything from sites I don’t know in future. I was disheartened and very stressed, but took a chance on some black cobweb lingerie from Killstar. Luckily it fit reasonably well. The bra could’ve done with being the next size up, but they had run out and knew I could make it work. I had been saving some gorgeous What Katie Did stockings for years (emerald green tops and seams), so was so glad to be able to use them for something so special! They twinned nicely with the green fairy wings that Neil had for the shoot.
I find it very unnerving, doing lingerie shoots nowadays. I’m sure a lot of people struggle with the same problem, but I picture what I ‘think’ I look like in my mind’s eye and am then horrified when faced with the reality. I find myself comparing my size in different photographs as I have fluctuated so much in the past 20 years. I am now a UK size 14, but can fit into the odd 12 too. Age, health and post-child changes have all played a part in how my figure has transformed during the last 6 years. I feel ‘mumsy’ rather than ‘va-va-voom’ and it takes a lot of effort (and a bloody good waist cincher) to make me feel confident about my shape.
I am loving these photos that Neil Kendall took. Definitely a confidence boost and rather liberating too. I asked him for some light touch ups (taking away some of the overhang and softening the folds that were made more apparent by dramatic lighting), but didn’t want to deceive the viewer (including myself) that I was a smaller size than I am.
I need to start loving my 41 year old body and remembering everything it has been through. No I’m not a svelte and toned gym bod. My boobs resemble a lazy-eyed chameleon, I have cellulite to rival the shrivelled up satsumas that are currently losing all hope in my fruit bowl and wobble that would make a trifle jealous. Im sure I have same hang ups as a lot of people…but hell…who doesn’t like a bit of trifle…?
Set in the grounds of the beautifully regal Ragley Hall, the Midlands Air Festival was something I had been looking forward to for weeks! Never one to let tradition slip, I ruined the afternoon by succumbing to a wretched migraine, forcing is to leave the show early. We did manage to see the test firing of some of the hot air balloons, Stampe display team in their gorgeous bi-planes, radio controlled stunt planes, Vietnam era helicopters and the Red Arrows.
Later on in the evening, I staggered out of bed to watch some of the hot air balloons land in the fields not too far from us. The following evening brought the beautiful WW2 Catalina fly overhead, but no balloons as a thunder storm had reared its head and was too dangerous to take off in.
So here are a handful of pictures and videos from the event! Enjoy!
Ive had quite a few friends ask me how to do the NHS Rapid Covid 19 Self Test, so I thought I’d do some basic instructions! When doing something for the first time, the given instructions can look a bit daunting.
Once you receive your text or email confirmation, do not delete it! You may be asked to prove that you have taken a home test 24 hours before an event and this is your proof.
Last night marked the very first cocktail evening at The Fourteas in Stratford upon Avon!
I was incredibly nervous and excited as I had been asked to alter my repertoire to focus on less wartime patriotic and more blues and swing. That meant learning some more songs and performing them confidently on the night!
As some of you know, I have an issue with my memory and in times of stress and fluster it is even worse! My head is constantly full of whizzing and bouncing ideas, thoughts, worries, reminders, ideas, daydreams and all manner of ridiculousness. Then I have to somehow squeeze lyrics to songs in between, like packing peanuts. In times of trauma or extreme upset my brain says “No thank you” and pretty much shuts down to defend itself. So I have to try and keep calm and collected as much as possible (at least outwardly!). Memorising the lyrics and timing to 24 songs can be either a walk in the park or swimming through treacle. Luckily last night I swallowed my pride and brought some lyric sheets with me for the new songs. With a quick glance at the start of odd verses I was able to jog my memory and move smoothly through the latest editions! Phew!
The evening was fantastic. The Fourteas’ new owner Zenios was a wonderful host and greeted each guest, chatted and made sure everything went like clockwork. The staff were attentive and brought around fabulous cocktails and mocktails to each table, never leaving people waiting for too long. I enjoyed a virgin pina colada and strawberry daiquiri!
At 7.30pm I started singing and was greeted to wonderful applause, smiles and toe tapping throughout. Us singers feed off of audience reactions, so I was on cloud nine for the entire evening!
Seeing a couple of familiar faces really helped me feel at ease and it was great to get back to a sense of normality again.
The Fourteas is a 1940’s tearoom situated in Sheep Street, Stratford upon Avon. It features indoor and outdoor seating and a wonderful vintage atmosphere. These new cocktail evenings will certainly add a classy and decadent evening venue to the town! If last night was anything to go by, this is going to be an incredibly successful venture for them! I hope to be a regular face (and voice) on Friday evenings!
Severn Valley Railway 1940’s Event is BACK! Reenactors, demonstrations, vintage shopping and entertainment for 2 weekends running! Things will be a little different, due to Covid restrictions and keeping everyone as safe as possible, but I cannot wait to sing at The Engine Shed at Highley each day! The museum is wonderful, plus there is a cafe AND fabulous stalls selling 1940’s clothing, hats and accessories. Times are TBA, so keep your eye out for updates. What a perfect way to celebrate my Birthday weekend, WOOHOO!
I love steam railway events and have been going to Severn Valley Railway (amongst others) for years. This will be the first time I have performed at this special WW2 event and cannot wait to be part of the vintage entertainment.