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PreRaphaelite Photoshoot


Although I have a huge appreciation of Art Deco to Atomic decor, did you know that I am passionate about PreRaphaelite art to? It Juxtaposes rather well with my Steampunk hobby as the PreRaphalite Brotherhood hated that the Victorian era was heading more towards industry and that modern art (at that time) was not what they thought beautiful. They adored 14th and 15th Century romantisism and Italian paintings before Raphael (although they apparently had nothing against his work at all).

The PRB was created in 1848 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt, who were all in their early 20’s. Later, James Collinson, art critic William Rossetti, F.G. Stephens and sculptor Thomas Woolner were invited to join the exclusive club. As well as parties, affairs and crazy pets (The Brotherhood were nuts about Wombats and the animal was depicted in a number of paintings and poems), Rossetti ended up owning a couple and named one ‘Tops’ after his good friend William Morris. The poor thing was not well however, and after its death he had it stuffed and displayed at home. Other pets included kangaroos, a toucan, llama and raccoons amongst others. You can just imagine the noise complaints from his neighbours.

Rossetti was infatuated by red hair. Whether it was the rarity of the colour (only 2% of the world’s population) or the mythical symbolism surrounding it (vampires, evil, sorceresses, passion…) Im not sure, but red heads certainly feature greatly in the preraphaelite works. Muse Lizzie Siddal was not only a model, but an artist too. She famously posed for Millais’ painting of ‘Ophelia’, having to lie in a freezing cold bath for hours without complaint. She became very ill afterwards and nearly died, but fortunately pulled through. Dante Rossetti was completely in love with her for some time and their relationship was rocky and heated thanks to Siddal’s illnesses and Rossetti’s affairs. It may have been because of these that Lizzie became addicted to Laudanum (opium tincture). After the loss of her baby, she spiralled into depression and died of an overdose soon after.

At her funeral, Dante placed a book of his hand written poems next to her cheek, entwining some of her beautiful red hair around it. After 7 years, he seemed to have gotten over his wife’s death enough to realise he wanted his beloved book back. He had her body exhumed and lamented the fact that he received the manuscript back decayed, soggy, stinking of disinfectant and littered with worm holes. Blurgh.

So now I bring you to the images you have been scrolling through! I have wanted to do a preRaphaelite photoshoot for years and finally got my opportunity with photographer Wayland Thor Badger! I had previously made the dress for a friend’s wedding many years ago and had recently found it again. It seemed to be perfect for a romantic, medieval feel. It was a magical day of shooting, with little Shetland ponies munching nettles on the opposite bank and the sound of the river trickling over stones. This is our nod to the PRB, Lizzie Siddal and all those gorgeous red heads. All 2% of you.

Blists Hill Photos


We had a fantastic visit to Blists Hill in Telford the other week! YOu pay for an annual ticket and it gets you in to the victorian town (open air museum) and a load of other museums that we have yet to explore! Ironbridge is so gorgeous and Blists Hill was a real hidden treasure. On the same lines as the Black Country Museum, it was nice to find similar in a different area.

We decided to dress in our Steampunk outfits for the day and invited a few friends to enjoy the day with us!

Here are some of the photos I took on the day…

Fairytale Farm

Fairytale Farm

It was our very first visit to this Cotswold attraction and from the get-go, Fairytale Farm’s covid rules were very well thought out. One way systems, hand gel and having to order food from a window to avoid people hovering in the ticket office/ cafe.

Now, this place is a little bit Marmite. It is quaint and little kids love it, but there is a definite air of needing a bit of TLC.

Upon leaving this area, you then enter a sort-of courtyard area with a wishing well, the dwarves cottage and various sheds housing dioramas. Children immediately unhook themselves from parents and prams and rush around with glee; whilst the adults stumble about trying to get accustomed to sheds, flies buzzing around Snow White’s hot head and arthritic geese swaying to tinkling music amid hay bales and Easter Bunnies. The larger characters (mermaids, sea creatures, Snow and her alarming possie of small gentlemen etc) are all fibreglass statues, spray painted like the kiddies rides you see at funfairs. You know, Disney-esque with a touch of despair and self loathing. This aside, they are big, bright, great for photos and the main attraction for our intrepid adventurers.

At the front of the Snow White area is an open story book that you can press to hear parts of the story. Unfortunately people were being Covid cautious and trying to use a single finger or car key to hear it, when it needs a full hand to activate.

I was rather looking forward to seeing the Mouse Village! Housed in an adjoining shed to the geese, you will find a large acrylic case with miniature houses and shops! It is such a great idea and a voice from the clouds asks you if you can spot fun things, such as a freshly dug grave and village stocks. There are apparently 15 mice living in this gorgeous township, although we went back 3 times and saw not a whisker. I had to tell a disappointed Betsy that they had gone to a secret club behind the church. Luckily she fell for it as she is 5 and still believes that Kinder Eggs grow out of her ears. The mice had evidently been in their village as evidence was all around. Like a Midsomer Murders episode, I scoured the place for clues… an overturned penny farthing bicycle…a broken lamp post with chewed wire…gnawed public bench…droppings throughout the bakery…it was like the apocalypse. So determined were we to see a rodent that we crouched down and waited in the darkness, in case the mice had migraine (micegrains?) from all the lights and music. Nowt.

I settled down on a picnic bench to enjoy a cream tea, whilst Betsy spent time in the sand pit. It is small, but she actually enjoyed this above everything else! Unfortunately the view in this area is great as directly behind is a security fence, housing an abandoned shed, bracken and rubbish. This could very easily have been hidden with large, colourful vinyl banners to improve the area, but maybe this was in fact a scene from an obscure fairy tale? Rubblestiltskin perhaps?

After this we headed on over to Fairytale Farm’s latest attraction. Yes kids, you too can milk Jack’s cow, just like in the book! With a backdrop of a large fibreglass beanstalk, kids can actually sit on a milking stool and pull on the red raw rubber udders of Daisy the cow. Fear not lactose weary parents! This bovine only produces water into the pale, which can them be poured into a milk/ water urn before letting someone else be the milk maid.

After tearing yourself away from Holstein teat yanking, you then have a corridor of more sheds. This time, you get to gaze through each window like the village weirdo. Press a button to light up each static scene abs hear an excerpt from the fairy tale! From Red Riding Hood’s wolf with glowing red eyes to the pert derrière of Hansel and Gretel’s witch, as she peers into her oven. My personal favourite was sleeping beauty. A beautifully hand painted room sets the scene as you gaze in wonder at Princess Aurora surrounded by her royal mosquito net. The set up was simple. A shop mannequin under a pink bedsheet, but the ‘closed eyelids’ made me giggle uncontrollably. It made me reminisce over my sister’s Bedtime Bernie. Anyone remember those? You would wet her eyes and they would suddenly go a very pale pink to simulate her sleeping. Although no one had licked Sleeping Beauty’s eyes, they had been cunningly painted a flesh tone to mimic eyelids. This may have worked, had they added false eyelashes at the bottom or clever shading, but the overall effect had me wondering whether she would suddenly sit up and start craving the taste of brains. This may have been part of the reason I loved it so much.

“Why Grandma, what a lengthy tongue you have…”

After this avenue of awesomeness came a winding pathway through beautiful plants attracting bees and more fibreglass fun. Looming either side of the path were giant seahorses, dolphins and octopus (octopuses? Octopi?). By pushing a large button underneath the seahorse, you could hear the therapeutic lapping of waves! Want to know what dolphins sound like? Why, just give that big button a push to hear it’s clicks and squeaks! And what about an octopus? What fascinating sounds are we going to be able to hear that Blue Planet failed to record??? “Hello! I’m Ollie the Octopus!”

Onwards dear friends! A sensory wonderland of music, water and characters and through to a fantastic playground, with plenty of benches for resting relatives as the kids go nuts on slides, climbing frames and more. Betsy didn’t want to leave this bit and it felt safe and secure.

Our real treat was the Walk a Llama experience, which you can prebook with your entrance ticket at an additional cost. Boy, I was looking forward to this! In my head I envisaged a wild meadow, with happy llamas being lead gayley through buttercups and daisies. I wasn’t really expecting a tiny enclosure next to the carpark, but I do daydream big. We ended up waiting an hour as we were last in our group’s queue. By this time Horace, the largest llama, had started to get pee’d off with the exercise and was pretty skittish and grumpy as hell. Even the handler was having a few issues. The other two seemed fine. The mid sized one looked vaguely like Tina Turner and was rocking an Afro mullet, whilst the smallest was ADORABLE-BUBBLE with white fluff and protruding bottom teeth. Another reason why I wanted to take him home? His name was Hagrid. Finally it was our turn and Betsy took the rains of the cutie pie aforementioned. We had a friend with us, who was given Tina Turner. Guess who ended up with Llama Drama aka Horace aka Satan’s Poodle.

We all set off around the field, guided by the prison officer-esque lady in charge; barking orders like a scout leader going through a messy divorce as we desperately tried to control our increasingly frustrated llamas. Something (a butterfly, non-existent breeze, car horn on Isle of Wight) started Horace, who then leapt in front of me and literally DARED me to look him in the eyes. I wasn’t falling for it. I knew his twisted game. I was shaken, but determined to control the situation. Scout Leader Llama Lady was suuuuuper helpful shouting “LEAD ON! LEAD ON!”, whilst I cranked my head to the side and desperately stared at bushes, whilst nudging the devil sheep and praying it wouldn’t spit or stomp on me. Although probably stealing part of my soul, it eventually faced the correct way and we continued to the exit.

So all in all? This was one of the most bizarre places I have ever visited, but young kids will really enjoy it. Good weather is a must to make the most of everything on offer, as it is all outdoors. The paths are great for pushchairs and wheel chairs, but having to accept your boiling hot coffee through the top window of the cafe is a bit like taking your life in your own hands! Great little gift shop and hopefully the derelict shed area will eventually become a soft play area.

Wish there had been more of these gorgeous fairies dotted about!
Gorgeous wall created from plastic bottles filled with plastic waste. Colourful and a great idea!
I face painted a seahorse on to Betsy for our visit 🙂

Kenilworth Castle Photos

Kenilworth Castle Photos

This Sunday we ventured to the beautiful ruins of Kenilworth Castle. They are currently doing timed ticket entry, which is fantastic as you don’t get hoards of people! It was incredible weather and our lovely friends came with us. I haven’t been for around 20 years, other than for a quick photo shoot in my 20’s, so I was interested to see if anything had been updated!

I worked at Warwick Castle many years back, where I saw an alarming transition from important historic monument to money making corporate theme park happening. Luckily Kenilworth isn’t doing Barbie style princess towers and extra charges to get into different areas, although I would’ve loved to have been there for the falconry or jousting!

We took a little picnic to enjoy in the grounds and the cafe was open for takeaway beverages and snacks too. Hand sanitiser was stationed at a few points around the grounds and the toilets were open! The only issue that we found was that the ramparts were closed in both sections, but luckily one of them was opened before we left, so Betsy and I got to take in the fantastic view of Kenilworth, the castle gardens and ruins. The gardens are beautiful at the moment and there is also an aviary, with a pheasant and finches inside. The marble fountain was not on, but it is still a very grand centrepiece!

Something I always find fascinating is the graffiti found on walls and doorways throughout the castle. From 1700’s to modern day, it shows carved names and dates spanning over 300 years, with more on fireplaces high up on walls that are not accessible.

I hope you enjoy these photos! Please remember that all photos are copyright, so please contact for usage. Thank you!

Entrance to the Grand Hall

Vivien of Holloway Lana Dress


Holding an original 1930’s cord bag with lucite handle and zip pull. Shoes by Johnsons Originals.

On VE Weekend this year, I was once again supposed to be singing at the VE Festival in Evesham. This wonderful event had moved to Ashdown Camp in Evesham and we were all excited for the new beginnings of a very successful and popular show! The VE Show was going to be sponsored by Vivien of Holloway in 2020 and I was lucky enough to be sent one of their Lana dresses to wear whilst performing.

Unfortunately Covid-19 dashed our plans and all events have obviously been cancelled for this year. I was still able to do a photoshoot of this beautiful 1940’s style dress with the talented Paul W Russell Photography. Our backdrop was the breathtaking Kenilworth Castle, of which I will have the pleasure of visiting later this month.

So, back to the dress! The fit is quite roomy compared to Vivien of Holloway’s more structured dresses (e.g. the Sarong). I ended up going for a VoH size 16 in this. Do NOT confuse their sizing with standard UK ones! Frustratingly, their sizes are based on vintage ones, so the 16 is infact a 12 UK. As I mentioned before, this dress definitely has more give, so that is why I went for the 16 instead of an 18. Im usually between a 12 and 14 UK and very curvy (40″-31″-40″), so always struggle with bust to waist ratio on dresses. This fit very well and the style is flattering and comfortable.

Vivien of Holloway now have a huge range of colours of the Lana dress and I would definitely find it difficult to choose which shade to get! And guess what? IT HAS FLIPPING POCKETS! YAAAAAAAS!!!

Inn-Dependence Day 4th July 2020


As lockdown is slowly eased across the country, people are taking their first tentative steps back out into the world.

Much has changed. Some shops have closed for good, others have lines snaking through car parks just because people need decking or a plant pot. I have now ventured past my neighbour hood and I was hit with emotions mixed between excitement, dread and anxiety. Shops that are open are doing their utmost to create a safe space and an altered reality for customers. Don’t be fooled, this could go on for a year or more depending on whether a vaccine is found and whether we open our borders too soon.

The government understand the need for morale in these difficult times and even opened garden centres so that we could channel worry and stress into a therapeutic pastime outdoors. We can now have picnics and meet up with friends outdoors as long as we still stay 2 metres away which is a real blessing!

On 4th July pubs will start opening across the country, serving outside as far as I’m aware. Whilst I am pleased for the landlords as so many village inns have closed in the past 20 years (especially since the smoking ban), I have my concerns about how they are going to assist drunk patrons in social distancing, plus all that drink needs to go somewhere and how many wash their hands after using the facilities?

Image copyright Stephen Craven

Some pubs have been fantastic during Covid-19 lockdown; doing takeaway menus like the Snitterfield Arms. Fish and Chip Fridays, Burger Tuesdays, Sunday Roast abs even Indian have been a fantastic treat for locals AND kept the pub in business with new customers as well as old. I think this way of thinking should be extended for a couple more months before we see a second wave of Covid.

I personally don’t drink. Don’t need it. But I I would really like to hear opinions from drinkers themselves. Is a picnic with bottled beers and friends not enough? What are your thoughts?

Lockdown Costume Walks Continue…


I thought I would share some more photos of Betsy and I dressed up on our costume walks! For over 10 weeks we have been keeping up morale (our own, our neighbours and friends online) by cosplaying our favourite characters.

Hermione Granger and Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter

My favourites have been our Harry Potter inspired walk (above), Frida Kahlo and her paint palette (scroll down for images) and Snow White with the Evil Queen!

Rock n Roll!
Just before singing to my neighbours

I’ve enjoyed singing to the street and it’s great when people come out of their homes and watch from their gardens and paths from a safe distance.

Buzz Lightyear and Jessie from Toy Story!

My eyes are actually some I made for my old Corpse Bride Cosplay. You can just about see through them. I drew on Buzz’s eyes with face paint and they are held on with thin elastic and eyelash glue… and yes, they were bloody uncomfortable and a nightmare to figure out where you’re going and who you are waving to!
Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.
Guess who was Dum…
Nice easy one and great for kids! We had the Alice in Wonderland soundtrack playing on my phone.
Off to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to a little boy down the street. Note the balloon and tiny party hat. Betsy is wearing her Queen Elsa costume as this is our Ice Age ensemble…geddit??
My tiny face paint palette is certainly getting a workout!
Ursula the Sea Witch
Ariel, the Little Mermaid and her Dinglehopper.
The boat is our garden pond. It’s called the Bootle Bumtrinket after Gerald Durrell’s boat in My Family and Other Animals. A perfect prop for Betsy’s mermaid costume!
Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother. Betsy’s bag is a popcorn holder that I got from Disneyland Paris last year. Best purchase ever!
You may recognise the gown from a Cinderella shoot I did with Lee Parker a couple of years ago. I trimmed it down to make it more wearable and used the train as a shoulder wrap.
Betsy was NOT in a dressing up mood, so I dressed as Jessie from Toy Story and she wore her Woody T-shirt as a compromise.
You’ve got a friend in me…
You try and get a decent selfie and get photobombed by a cat’s bum.
I had been waiting to pop this Star Wars costume on again! I made is around 3 years ago to wear at Birmingham Comicon and got to meet the legend Warwick Davis! He loved it so much, he got his son to take a photo of us so that he could post it on Twitter! I also heard him mention my outfit on the radio a few days later. So I give you… Princess Leia on Endor, riding and Ewok.
Saving the universe and defeating the dark side gets a bit tiring. This Princess Leia dress was actually an adult one I had never worn. I just cut off the bottom, a bit of sleeve and glued the Velcro on a different bit of the belt to cinch it in! Her hair buns were made from a mouse tail I made for the school nativity play. My tights filled with cushion stuffing, I just cut it in half and rolled each half up before stitching to stop unravelling. They were light enough to be attached with a couple of hair grips!

Snow White
And the Evil Queen!
Absolutely LOVE this Disney Villains costume!
Taken by Rachel Perks
I could not get her to smile! She was happy, but was in a sultry posing mood and wouldn’t grin for toffee. Rapunzel from Disney’s Tangled.
Motherrrrrrr knows best! Mother Gothel cosplay! She is one of my favourite Disney characters.
Safari Tours!
Weirdly enough, I have had this gorilla costume for around 12 years and never worn it! Bought to create a burlesque routine, but my asthma couldn’t handle the restrictive mask. Managed to keep this on all down the street, but couldn’t wait to get it off!
One of my lovely neighbours gave me a banana…
Betsy’s outfit was nice and simple! I used permanent markers to write on a plain T-shirt.
This was Betsy’s favourite! She has always wanted a Wednesday Addams outfit and someone very kindly sent her some money to buy a toy and costume of her choice! A very lucky little girl! The wig is an adult one and fits really well. It’s cheaper than the kid’s version!
Morticia Addams! Love The Addams Family and this dress lends itself perfectly to this gothic beauty. I’ve actually worn this gown 3 times on our walks: Melificent, Ursula and Morticia.
Just a silly one. I have an Elvis jumpsuit T-shirt that I wore with my white Heyday Online trousers and sang some Elvis numbers.
Frida Kahlo cosplay! Complete with her pet deer. The wig is actually Betsy’s Wednesday Addams one!
Frida’s paint palette and brush! I made these at 8am that morning out of a cardboard box and acrylics. Not bad eh?
Taken by Rachel Perks
Guess who…?
Crazy Cat Lady!
Weirdly enough, this was one of our most popular costume picks on Facebook!
Princess Jasmine and Rajah the tiger from Disney’s Aladdin!
Betsy’s wig is actually my Morticia Addams one!
My trust face paint palette again. Tried to copy the animated version of Rajah as well as I could. Would’ve been great if I hadn’t got it too close to my eyes as it stung to buggery and made my eyes stream all down the street! Never mind, I was proud of my efforts!

Studio 10 Interview

Studio 10 Interview

Studio 10 on Zoom

On 7th May 2020, Richard and I were interviewed for Australian television! Studio 10 set up a Zoom video call at 10.15pm to be broadcast at 11.20am Sydney time. I was still trying to get over a migraine, so was ready to crawl into bed, but luckily adrenaline kicked in and I managed to stay up!

It went very well and we were asked about our lifestyle, fashion, diet, wedding and the similarities between the Covid-19 isolation and WW2. To this latter question I replied that there were no similarities what so ever apart from community spirit and the need to stay calm and safe. The war was horrendous and shouldn’t be compared to this situation. Unfortunately that question was edited out of the recording!

Kitten Von Mew

The only other bit edited out was when I was asked about my 1940’s ration diet. I told them that that information was purely British tabloids trying to create a weird story and we certainly weren’t on 1940’s rations. The rest is in there though, so enjoy!

You can watch the interview HERE.

VE Day 75 Celebrations 2020

VE Day 75 Celebrations 2020

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Who would’ve thought that in these uncertain days of isolation that we could get so many people together (safely distanced) in joyful celebration and remembrance.

007 ve day - Chris, Janet and Eve web

Flags were flying, bunting hung and the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement as the whole street prepared for the 75th anniversary of VE Day. This special day celebrates Winston Churchill’s famous speech that WW2 was finally over.

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This anniversary has come at a time where community spirit is again so important in keeping spirits lifted in a difficult time.

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On thursday evening Richard and I did a Zoom video interview for Studio 10, an Australian news programme on Channel 10. It aired at 11.40am Sydney time, although due to the time difference, we had to do the video call at 10.15pm!

On Friday morning at 9am I had a visit from the BBC Coventry and Warwickshire van and was interviewed live about the day’s upcoming events.

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At 11.30am I started my live singing set, which was also featured on Facebook for those in carehomes, hospitals, workplaces and homes worldwide. Viewers in America, France, Germany, Australia and Britain all joined me as I sang a selection of 1940’s classics to my neighbours and the photographer from Stratford Herld. I had a slight hiccup in Watch the Birdie, when my ‘mummy head’ clicked in as betsy hurt her finger. All words went out of my head as I watched and mentally checked that she was ok, whilst mumbling incoherent nonsense through the microphone. Ok, good Richard is getting her a plaster. BHAM! Back to singing head. Where am I in the song? Shoot this is going out live! Ok, just smile and look like you know what you’re doing… “Watch the Birdie, let’s take a candied camera shot, Watch the Birdie come on let’s give it all you’ve got, Watch the Birdie just  pick a flop-n-derp-n-bop and hold it!” ha ha ha!

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I decided to raise funds for Combat Stress, my favourite charity, who help veterans young and old (as well as their families) dealing with depression, PTSD and anxiety. There are already too many vets dealing with homelessness, addiction and psychological problems associated with their time fighting for their country. Combat Stress is here to assist those struggling. For those who would like to donate, you can do so HERE and 100% of the donations will go to the charity. The link will be active for 2 weeks after VE Day, do if it is no longer working, you can contact me directly!

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It was so wonderful seeing everyone enjoying themselves and coming together as a proud nation. It just shows that even in these depressing and worrying times, we can create strength and joy to see us through.

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There was music playing, people having picnics and BBQ’s and even an ice cream wagon giving out free ice creams and waffles! Thank you to all who made the day so incredible special and memorable, and remember…just  pick a flop-n-derp-n-bop and hold it!

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Stratford Herald Comes on Kitten Von Mew’s Walk


youtu.be/3EhtLMo1s_c

Thank you Stratford Herald for your support!