RSS Feed

Category Archives: Events and Performances

Wartime in the Vale 2018


For Father’s Day this year, we thought a trip to Ashdown Camp’s Wartime in the Vale would be a great idea. I had to swallow my pride a little, as I used to perform there many years ago and was let go when a new entertainment organiser was brought in.

We firstly stopped at the fabulous Fourteas in Stratford Upon Avon to have a family breakfast (thoroughly recommend the G.I. Breakfast and Earl Grey tea!) before heading to Evesham.

The event has increased hugely from the small field event it once was. I could hardly recognise the place! We got there at midday, with no entrance queues and there were huge displays of military vehicles. The main arena had First World War and WWII vehicles, tanks and cavalry (best displays I have seen at a show).

There were lots of stalls (a few good ones, but 50% were annoying tat, Lindy Bop 50’s dresses, 80’s doing vintage or extremely overpriced vintage military (£35 for moth eaten military breeches that needed patching up, sewing and new fly buttons and lacing?!). It kind of reminded me of how War and Peace started to go, so they could entice young people and families.

Amazing box made by a WW2 POW out of newspaper!

I was also NOT impressed by one guy representing Help for Heroes, who made some kind of tongue-in-cheek comment about my ‘big buns’ and a bake sale, before somehow thinking it was hilarious to say “You know, if you can tear yourself away from Jeremy Kyle or whatever it is you do in the daytime…” seriously?!?! At least these two were professional!

Thanks to my friend Stephen, I had the honour of going inside the First World War tank, which was fascinating. Boy was it cramped! With lousy suspension and lack of headroom it would certainly be no good for just popping to the shops in…

One of the most dangerous places to be in the First World War, they were cramped with exposed scolding-hot pipes, toxic fumes, noise and more. Around 8 men would be put into these hazardous machines and many became ill or died from heat exhaustion, carbon monoxide poisoning from the engine, horrendous burns from the pipes or killed by the axis forces.

Back to the show!

For the little kids, there was a mini fun fair that certainly amused Betsy for 20 minutes before home time! The mini swing boats were actually from 1945, which was awesome!

I would say that it would have been nice to have some smaller entertainment spots, set up at a couple of other areas (other than the main marquee), but it would’ve been impossible. Everything is set around the central arena, which is obviously rather noisy and the main focus of the show. Any singers or music would get completely drowned out by the tannoy, pyrotechnics or engines!

I think I would go back for a day out with the family, but would bring ear defenders for Betsy Boo next time! There were warnings with most of the explosions, but some we were unprepared for and she soon started trying to hide!

I would thoroughly recommend the displays, which were fantastic, but if you go with shopping in mind, maybe go to a carboot sale before hand and just enjoy the rest!

Advertisements

Bletchley Park Vintage Weekend – Sunday


How lucky were we with the weather?! Even when we arrived, my weather app said it was 65% chance of thunderstorms and showers from 2pm. Bletchley Park Vintage Weekend stayed hot and humid until we left!

Today we were all wearing vintage. Richard was in is WWII American Navy gear, I was in an original 40’s crepe dress with studded detailing and betsy was in an adorable vintage dress with chickens embroidered around the bottom!

We headed once more to the vintage tent to have a look at the stalls (sunglasses were a must-have purchase as I was not prepared for the sunshine at all!) and then on to the mansion restaurant to order lunch and sit in the sunshine, whilst Betsy made the most of the play equipment. Got to say that the ribs were scrumptious, but at events like this, it does get VERY busy with a long queue at lunchtime.

We need to do the whole weekend next year so that we have time for a tour around the huts too. It’s a bit tricky with a 2.5 year old that just wants to run around, ride on the back of swans and talk to everyone who will listen (how she went to the toilet, what colour her toenails are, various songs from her extensive repertoire…”and on that farm he had some shoes ee-i–ee-i-oh, with clip clop here and a clip clop there…”).

We did manage to watch the lindy hoppers in the main marquee, who were lovely.

There was then a short dance tutorial, where Betsy went around offering the dancers gummy bears as sustenance.

My singing set went really well, albeit performing in a sauna! Lovely audience yet again and even some dancers braved the heat. It was amazing to glance over at the swans and lake, people dressed beautifully in their vintage fashions and bask in the incredible history of Bletchley.

Kitten Von Mew Singing < click the link for a video!

Thank you to all those who came and showed support, it really does mean the world to me.

Wow. I’ve just performed at Bletchley Park!!!

Bletchley Park Springtime 1940’s Weekend – Saturday


Well we arrived at midday and although we had driven through fog and rain, the day stayed beautifully clear and warm. I even had to take my thermal vest off!

As I had a while until my performance, we went to check out the entertainment marquee (situated by the beautiful lake and a very handy traditional sweets stall) and then went to peruse the vintage stalls. Well, the choice was so much better than previous years! Bletchley upped their game and are thinking of having even more next year.

Some great custom and vintage hats, some really super menswear (tons of waistcoats!) and rails of clothing, tables jewellery and sunglasses.

I had to stop at Debbie’s Vintage World as she always has some really wonder pieces from America. It’s been a while since I treated myself, but came away with a gorgeous mustard coloured, wide brimmed hat (40’s/50’s) and this jolly little fellow! Seems to be lucite and celluloid from the 50’s.

Considering yesterday was the first day I have felt vaguely human since my tonsillitis, sinus and chest infections, today was a big test for the old vocal chords! I was due to sing 2 x 30 minute sets, but ended up doing a full hour. I really enjoyed myself and put up a live feed on Facebook for people to watch. Unfortunately, 10 minutes towards the end someone sat on the chair containing my phone…even though they saw it there and still sat down…so you can hear but not see me!

Betsy very much enjoyed all the attention she received in her vintage seersucker dress and droptoe pram. Richard wore an original American WWII Civil Air Patrol uniform and I went with some lavender Heyday trousers and a cotton blouse. I did have a 40’s oriental jacket over the top, but it got way too hot.

Tomorrow is meant to be warm with a threat of thunder, but I can’t wait to go back!

Bletchley Park 1940’s Weekend

Bletchley Park 1940’s Weekend

This weekend I will be singing at Bletchley Park’s 1940’s Weekend! The weather is set to be beautiful too! The museum will be open, so you can gaze in awe at the Enigma machine, computer and historic mansion. Walk around the beautiful grounds, enjoy the entertainment, vintage stalls, reenactors and more!

I will be performing on the Saturday and Sunday only, at 3pm and 4pm, so come and say hello.

Ironbridge 1940’s Charity Walk


The wonderful organisers of the Ironbridge WWII Weekend put on a special event yesterday, which included a charity walk in aid of Pilgrim Bandits.

The Malthouse put on a lovely daytime and evening do and made a wonderful base for the event! With bunting, flags on the tables, Willy’s Jeep, Classic Car and 40’s music coming out of an old wooden radio, they had done a lovely job.

The weather was beautifully mild and the scenery spectacular. I had never had the pleasure of visiting Ironbridge before, but knew we would come back every year. Even though the famous bridge was being repaired, it didn’t take away from the stunning buildings, greenery and river!

I did 2 short singing sets in the daytime and trailed my microphone lead outside to the courtyard to make the most of the beautiful day! I did have 1 technical hitch, which was the fact that I was planning an Isis Wing Dance (Kieran’s Requiem) as the finale for my evening set, but the ceilings were too low for my wing span!

The only thing I could think of was to do it in the outside courtyard on go on the hunt for some bamboo fans and silk scarves to create fab veils with! We hot stepped it to the Antiques Centre before my first set to see what we could find. Nothing. But I did come away with a few charms for my charm bracelet! Some vintage fetish shoes, a burlesque dancer and pussycat.

So that was that. I explained the situation to the organisers and they were absolutely fine with it. It was going to be tricky as the patching was uneven and outside tables still rather close, but I wasn’t going to let them down.

After my first set we sauntered down the street to the soldier memorial and admired more pretty buildings and scenery. We chatted to a lovely lady in her garden with 2 crazy springer spaniels and headed back to The Malthouse for some lunch!

The second set was very lively, with more people and a super atmosphere! I really was in love with this place and the staff were so welcoming. I even got one of their themed B&B rooms to get changed in for my evening performance!

As we had a while until my last set, we headed to the Telford Shopping Centre to watch The Quiet Place (really good!) and then went to my room to get prepped.

As I was doing my hair and makeup I got to thinking about the last time I performed burlesque outside and realised it was with the USO Shows. Memories flooded my head…Giggles with Kieran and Sandra, repairing feather fans after strong winds had broken them, the Clover Sisters, dancing…then I realised what act I was doing (one I created in Kieran’s memory) and couldn’t stop the tears. I had to repair my eye make up constantly and will my false eyelashes to stick. Finally composed, Richard helped me tuck my costume fabric into my dress and we headed downstairs. I knew I looked a bit lumpy and bumpy, but hoped that people would forgive this once they saw the finale. There were soooo many people and most were dressed for the occasion! They waved their flags, sang along and made me forget all my worries! With a mild threat, I got them all outside and someone helped move one of the speakers to the doorway for my burlesque act. The performance space was still small and the tips of my wings were an ear hair away from some of the audience, but I just went with it. Whilst dancing I bantered back and forth with some of the watchers and my melancholy act turned into fun and laughter. I didn’t want to leave.

(2 performance photos above taken by Graham Hickman!)

So dear Ironbridge, I will be back! The seed has been firmly planted at The Malthouse and we have a few plans in the pipeline. Thank you for your hospitality, support and darned right loveliness x

Shakespeare’s Birthday Festival 2018


Well we may have had a little rain, but nothing to dampen the spirits of everyone who attended the first day of Shakespeare’s Birthday Festival!

The market was on by the river, there was a living statue competition, some amazing eateries and the main parade! I was lucky enough to sing near the Bancroft opposite the giant Birthday cake!

It was a super crowd and I loved looking at all the statues! The costumes were incredible! We were also lucky enough to see the LGBT Pride people sat on the grass with some dressed as gorgeous unicorns.

Although a local gal, this was the first time I had been to the Shakespeare Birthday celebrations and thoroughly enjoyed it. LSD Productions had done a sterling job of organising the festivities!

Steampunk Mary Poppins and Stratford Comicon 2018


Well this April Stratford Upon Avon hosted its very first Comicon! I ended up using this as an excuse to create a costume I’ve wanted to do for years…Steampunk Mary Poppins!

I have always loved the Jolly Holiday scene in the movie and couldn’t wait to start my project. On a very tight budget I managed to get a blouse, petticoat, overskirt, boots and corset. The corset, although XL, was small and the underbust certainly wasn’t ‘under’. I ended up having to cut the shoulder straps, add eyelets and add red cord to lengthen it! It is just a fashion corset and not for tight lacing, so wore my trusty waspie under the outfit for a bit more nip and pull.

The boots were black and white, so I painted them with acrylics and sprayed with an enamel top coat. They looked super and just about lasted the event before cracking across the toes. It was hitting, but there was nothing online that was right (she wore pale pink and white boots, not red and white). I also didn’t have enough money for leather which I could have permanently painted. Ah well, they did the job!

I cut down the hoop petticoat as it was ankle length originally and did the same with the tulle overskirt, chopping out the attached underskirt too. Adding the signature red velvet bows tied it into the movie.

The hat was an 80’s wedding hat! I cut down the depth of the crown and reattached the top, covering the whole thing in tulle that I had trimmed off the skirt! No waste!

Onto the exciting bits! I created the rocket pack in homage to Mary Poppins’ carousel horse and painted it in similar colours, with the same flower and swirl pattern. The pressure dial was inspired by her yellow measuring tape and the bottom of each rocket by her parasol umbrella.

I had bought a couple of papier-mâché vases ages ago in the hopes of creating a rocket pack for myself, so that was great! The carousel horse head was created from a papier-mâché unicorn and the dial from a cardboard gift box. I used craft foam for the rocket cones and parasol bases.

Next up, my emergency cup and saucer holster! Whether there is a tea duelling contest or just the need for a morning Earl Grey, this is the perfect accessory. I ended up creating the template around a silicone cup and saucer (the type you bake cupcakes in) as I wanted something very light and non-breakable (incase I had to carry Betsy). I had some very old scrap leather pieces that I used for the holster. These were easy to cut with standard scissors. I hot glued the edges together and painted it with acrylics to match the rocket pack.

Finally the leather wrist gauntlet! With a glass vial of ‘medicine’ and another full of sugar (to help the medicine go down) it is the ideal emergency kit for sniffly children. I mixed bubble bath, food colouring and glitter for the medicine before hot gluing the cork on. The strap were made from antique leather children’s belts that had dried out. I massaged some moisturiser into the leather and theft them overnight. The main gauntlet was made from the same scrap leather as the cup holster, hot glued onto a piece of craft foam lining. I used acrylic paint again and a special raised outline gold paint for detailing. I sprayed everything with a clear top coat to protect the paint.

On to the event! It only took about 1.5 hours to get round, so it was small, but for a first offering (and £5 entrance fee) it was expected. There was a good mix of stalls, illustrators, an epic cup cake stall, a replica Dalek exhibit and a large Simpsons sofa photo op.

Over the other side were the ‘celebrities’ and a green screen photo op. We went first thing in the morning and there were about 100 of us.

I made my way to an illustrator’s stall and then carried on around. The celebrity guests were sat looking a little bemused. I stood and chatted for quite a long time to Paul Warren and Julian Seager, who were very pleasant. I felt awful as I wasn’t interested in purchasing autographs from them and felt like they were friendly but also trying to butter me up to purchase something! Hopefully that wasn’t the case! I talked briefly to Virginia Hey as she needed to borrow glue for her nail and Chris Barrie who I had met previously at Goodwood Revival in the VIP area. It was rather amusing seeing Mr. Brittas back in a leisure centre!

I did have a photo taken with Betsy on the green screen, but it was just a shame that Betsy and my leg disappeared on the photo! Ah well, it was a nice memory and souvenir!

The good thing about the show is that it is walking distance to the town and park. You can come and go as you please, so can go for a wander and then pop back.

It would be nice to see some photo op lookalikes there, such as UK Negan, a Q&A stage (this could also be used for people to introduce their cosplay costumes), more food stalls and maybe a Jolly Comicon host to keep everyone up to date. There could be a screen with projected live Tweets from their Twitter profile, or new movie previews… maybe some of these ideas will reach the creators!

I have to say though that my husband’s Mugatu costume seemed to steal the show! He has worn it before, but I managed to alter a dog toy to make into Mugatu’s poodle and found some sunglasses to finish the costume off. He looked hilarious!

It was a great little convention to meet up with friends and I’m so glad that we finally have a Comicon of our own. It will get bigger and better I’m sure, but this was a good start!