RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: June 2011

Gracie Wheels Debut! Wartime in the Vale 2011

We took Gracie Wheels out on her first ever trip last weekend to Wartime in the Vale in Evesham. This was a great way to make sure she hadn’t got any major problems before The War and Peace Show in July.

She towed very well and looked fantastic in the sunshine, especially after we hung bunting out! She got quite a lot of interest as we were parked opposite the military vehicle exhibits!

Kitten von Mew outside Gracie Wheels at Wartime in the Vale 2011

The show seemed to be 3 times bigger than last year, with many more vehicles on show. DJ Woody was back with his awesome music, there was a much better dance floor, Fiona Harrison sang and I also did a singing set each day and debuted my new Carmen Mewanda act in the evening! It went down a storm and I am so glad I altered the act from a fan dance. I was really pleased with the way the costume came out too. It was the first time I had tried to make anything out of sinamay and I was proud of the results for the headdress. The costume itself looks fab but I put on weight since making it last year (I always lose so much weight after the busy season has finished and put it back on again in winter!), so had to alter it at the last minute.

Kitten von Mew's Carmen Mewanda Costume!

On the Saturday my parents joined us as they kindly brought the caravan. I think we would have more hope of a parrot on a bicycle towing Gracie than my little Picanto. They stayed and watched my singing set of which I had added 3 new songs to! I had a great time on stage and had 2 tiny tots running around by my feet throughout. I was on the dance floor so there was no real barrier between  me and the public. The little ones disappeared after a while and the baby girl came back in my last song with a huge bag of Quavers. She looked up at me, then sat down about 2 feet away. I thought ‘If you can’t beat em…’ and sat down with her whilst I sang We’ll Meet Again. It was so funny and dad took a gorgeous photo of us…

Kitten singing at Wartime in the Vale

I found a few bargains whilst we walked around including a pair of women’s mosquito gators dated 1945 for £3 of which I am currently wearing with a tweed skirt, a US Army jacket for Richard at £5 (believe it to be 50’s), a fabulous 1950’s swimsuit for £17 and a 1940’s black wool skirt for £7. Not too shabby huh?

Mr. Mew after my performance on the Saturday evening in the entertainment tent

Pets are the Funniest Things…

My fish at work...yes that is an Easter Island head...

As many of you know, my family used to have 2 gorgeous cats called Rupert and Rosey who were larger than life characters. I adored having cats around, but unfortunately where I live now, we are not allowed any! The landlady has a huge dog who is so sweet and gentle, but she roams freely in the grounds and turns wicked when faced with felines apparently. So cats are not allowed. The pussycats had incredibly strong personalities. Rosey was an utter flirt, would shout and chatter to everyone and loved having men in the room. She loved rough play and there were many occasions where guests would look on in sheer horror as we pummeled her ribcage like a masseuse, whilst she dribbled and purred in appreciation. Rupert was a complete lap cat and had a bad habit of biting noses when he was younger. A pure ginger tiger with huuuuge padding paws, this was one mog who craved cuddles, food and plastic bags or wrapping paper to rustle around in. On so many occasions I half expect 2 furry friends to bound over to me as I come down the drive to visit my parents. I don’t think you ever get over losing pets you have known for so long.

I finally decided to get some fish as I have a little fish tank with 4 Minnows in it at work and love them to pieces (Churchill, Liz, Rommel and Miller). I bought a fish tank and added Dame, Vera and Lynn who didn’t seem to appreciate our efforts to keep them alive and happy at all. We decided to start again with 4 smaller Minnows – Dame II, Vera II, Lynn II and Glenn who have been living happily in their tank for 2 weeks. We decided to change 10% of the water so popped the top off and skimmed the top of the tank on Saturday. Sunday I was getting concerned as Glenn seemed to be missing in action and would not normally hide himself in the cave-like barracks at the back of the tank. After a lot of searching we discovered he seemed to have vacated the tank and neither of us could figure out how as we know we had not taken him out whilst changing the water. Late yesterday evening we discovered the mystery of Glenn Miller’s disappearance. Upon taking the top off of the tank and starting the cleaning process, the fish sometimes get a little over-excited and flick their tails at the surface. It seems that Glenn, in a moment of territorial vigour, had hurled himself out of the water. Inconveniently for him, he landed by the china cabinet instead of back into the tank and we found his body last night whilst watching King Kong. Twasn’t beauty that killed the beast it was stupidity. Poor Glenn.

To be honest, the girls seem relieved about his removal. Having regained the stage, they seem more full of life and colour as they swim around their submerged battle tank. One came to the glass and I am sure I saw her mouth ‘We’re back ladies!’

I came into the office this morning (I am a creative writer in the week at a gift company) and my work friend Becky had gained herself some chickens over the weekend. She discovered when they were dropped off that they were in fact a chicken and 2 cocks, so it looks like she will have eggs flying around like ping pong balls at a Thai lap dancing club. Im looking forward to the prospect of fresh poached eggs on the odd morning!

There is something very therapeutic about having pets, something to look after like a child, take your mind off of life’s problems. One of these days we will buy a place and get 2 kitty-cats, but until then Glenn (R.I.P), Miller, Dame II, Vera II, Lynn II, Liz, Rommel and Churchill are an absolute pleasure.

New Burlesque Act for War and Peace Show 2011

What a day! I have just been making a costume for my new act Pipe Dreams that will debut at Beltring (War and Peace Show) in July! Very pleased so far, but still a little more to do before i can get practising. I will also be debuting Carmen Mewanda at Wartime in the Vale and need to doctor the costume slightly, so that will be done tomorrow. 2 brand new Burlesque acts for an amazing summer!

Star Wars Silliness…

This video was shot at Gaydon Heritage Motor Centre. I had just come up with a few new lyrics whilst we were sat having a cup of coffee, watching the rain coming down. In a caffeine fuelled dash of genius and lunacy, we went to the sci-fi exhibit and shot this little number. Not Albert Hall worthy, but hopefully someone will get a giggle out of it.

Burlesque at Heritage Motor Museum

This weekend I performed at the Heritage Motor Museum’s Commercial Vehicle Show. Last year I did a family friendly version of RAF Fancy and this year they wanted something 1950’s inspired! I decided on another family friendly routine and a few 1950’s songs including some Elvis.

The fan dance was similar to RAF Fancy with a few little changes and started with me singing Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend. I sang this once before at a Christmas party around 6 years back at an old work place and it was awful, so really wanted to do my best this time now I have a bit more confidence!

Although the crowds didn’t really stop, it did draw a few people and applause could be heard dotted around the museum after each song! It absolutely tipped it down on Sunday so I was transferred from the outdoor stage to the museum which was wonderful.

I also enjoyed looking round the exhibits including a car from one of the recent James Bond movies, Lady Penelope’s pink car from the Thunderbirds movie, land speed record vehicles and more. The museum also boasted a travelling exhibit of sci-fi movie replicas, of which I had a hilarious time posing with!

Everyone was so lovely and Emma and Sophie at the museum couldn’t be more helpful!

Kitten von Mew with Star Trek Costumes at Gaydon Heritage Motor Centre 2011

Kitten von Mew Sings 1950's Songs at the Vintage Commercial Vehicle Show 2011

Kitten von Mew with Jabba the Hut at Heritage Motor Museum

My Article in WWII Reenactors Magazine – March Edition

I am well known for my hoarding skills, just as much as my pin-up poses! Having been an avid carboot sale hunter since the age of 4, I have progressed to antique markets and flea fairs in the vain hope of a bargain. Nowadays carboot sales frustrate me a little. Gone are the days of 20p sales, as antique dealers set up camp next to people clearing their loft of 90’s decor. But do not fret dear Catnips, for there are still bargains to be had and treasures to be found! Take my Art Deco sofa set for example, bought for £15 from Ebay and recently valued on the Antique Roadshow at £800. Now that is pretty good going!

Kitten von Mew's Art Deco 3 Piece Suite

I cannot say I own anything of great rarity, but have certainly found my own personal jewels. If like me you just want to search for things to improve your vintage inspired home and WWII collection at the same time then read on! Until the next flea market, I was left twiddling my thumbs, so Mr. Mew and I stepped out for a wonder around Warwick. Not the most enthralling shopping hub, but with 2 lovely antiques centres, I thought I would show him the old military booth in the main one. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to us, the poor man who had manned it for these many years had ‘passed on’ so we were left down hearted. We did however totter along to the other one, more famed for costume jewellery antique homeware and random books on cricket. There is a small vintage clothing section at the back of the shop, but prices are rediculous (£32 for a pair of evening gloves?!). I myself love old books and the covers of sheet music, so after gawping and hopelessly hinting at the things I couldn’t afford, we headed to the book stand where I could peruse the pages of Enid Blyton, Biggles and more. There is nothing quite like the smell of old books. Take a good long sniff of your Kindle or computer screen and tell me it smells just as good. I adore it when you find one marked with the receivers name, or the odd ticket used as a bookmark still lodged in one of its well-worn pages. We came away with a few lovely finds…

The first ‘Spinsters Progress’, bought for £1, is well used and first owned by the W.H.Smith & Son’s Library in London. A first edition, this book also has the fabulous ‘BOOK PRODUCTION WAR ECONOMY STANDARD’ logo inside, which is something I always look out for and collect. This mark, found framed by a book and sitting lion is found in one of the front pages of some books printed during WWII in England. Because of paper, glue, thread and ink rationing, books started to be produced meeting certain criteria, much like CC41 clothing. Look out for this mark in your own collections. Usually you can also see what date the book is publiched and which addition it is. Older books will say ‘First Edition … 1942 / First Published’ or ‘Tenth Edition/ Tenth Impression…1949’ etc, whilst post war books may have a line of numbers (something like 6 5 4 3 2 56 57 58 59). The lowest number usually indicates the edition (the example shows that the book is the 6th edition), whilst the larger numbers, if any, indicates the date of print (1956 in the example). This can be handy when looking for collectable first editions such as your children’s Harry Potter books, your Ian Flemming collection and the like. Bear in mind that just because it is a first edition, it doesn’t make it rare or collectible! It’s just a nice thing to look out for when you are at a rummage sale or confronted with a box of old books in your loft. The second hard back book I found was H.M.S. by Klaxon and bought as a gift for Mr. Mew. At a whopping £12, I wouldn’t normally spend extravagances on such an item, but it is rather a lovely book. Dating it is a little confusing as although it states 1918, the first entry was written by Professor J. Scott of a ‘recent Airship Journey accross the old Bed of the North Sea, July 1, 1923.’ A collection of short Naval stories and poems centred around the 1st World War, it is a really interesting read and was definitely worth the money. Reading true and old accounts of the wars is always fascinating. If you are into WWI or the British Navy, this could be a good book for you and can be found online.

On to my favourites! Now, any lover of WWII newspaper humour and political comic satire would have heard of Jon’s ‘Two Types’. These two British characters enthralled soldiers and public alike with their rather forthright ‘Damned if we do, damned if we don’t’ manner. These two thoroughly English gents military gents, gave everyone a well needed chuckle in the war years. We happened across a copy of ‘Jon’s Two Types in Italy’, which although slightly dog eared was complete and a bargain at £5. Very collectable, grabbing yourself anything to do with Jon’s Two Types is definitely a worthwhile investment and a great read for the coffee table! Another bargain in my book *titter* was a hardback of ‘New Pocket Cartoons by Osbert Lancaster’ for £3.50. When I initially saw this book, I was convinved that it was a 1970’s publication, with a pale pink and grey illustrated dust jacket over a bright yellow cover! On closer inspection I was pleased that it was infact a 1941 First Edition. A fantastic book, it has reprinted satorical cartoons from the Daily Express, some rather non P.C. for the modern day audience. Books in hand, we made our way to the till, stopping briefly so I could sift through a wad of music sheets! I just LOVE the covers and typography of some of these and managed to grab an original Singing in the Rain, Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart and Lay Down Your Arms for 50p each. Bargain!

So all in all a successful trip and the kind gentleman of the shop also knocked off another £2, which made the sheet music free. My next stop… a good old table top rummage sale and a flea market, so I will let you know how I get on! Word for the wise, it is a lot more fun going with a set budget and seeing what bargains you can pick up or you may find yourself flittering away that cash before you can blink. Save up your coins and set yourself a limit. With so many carboots and fairs coming up in the summer months, you will need to pace yourself for some good bargain hunting! Never be afraid to offer a slightly lower price, but don’t insult the seller by going rediculously low. They will usually have put up the price of their goods by £1 to £5 depending on what the item is, just incase someone fancies a barter. Happy hunting!

Kitten von Mew x

Escape to Victory – Kitten von Mew at Colchester Stadium

On Sunday I entertained the crowds at Colchester Football Stadium at a British Legion event! The stadium played host to a recreation of the football game from Michael Caine’s classic Escape To Victory between the Nazi soldiers and POW’s. Before the match I sang some 1940’s classics before doing my family friendly RAF Fancy Fan Dance outside the grounds. Then at half time I sang 3 songs (see the video above) for the crowd. This was the first time I had sung in a stadium and it was very strange hearing my voice echoing around the place!

Although very tired from a stupidly bad nights sleep at a rather awful B&B, Richard and I had a lovely time and hope that the British Legion raised heaps of money at the event!

Cadets at Colchester Stadium with Kitten von Mew

Taxi for Mr. Mew!