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!!!
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.
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!
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.
I hope you have all been staying safe and healthy in these unsettling times! It can be incredibly intense and claustrophobic being isolated, but you are doing great.
To update you with what I’ve been up to…every single week day, my 4 year old daughter and I dress up in a different theme and take our 1 hour of exercise time. My plan was to create some crazily cool memories for Betsy, focus on something fun by dressing up and bring some morale to the street. I suffer with depression quite badly and love the escapism of fancy dress or costuming. The fact I can use this outlet as a ray of sunshine for other people and keep my mental health more-or-less stable in these uncertain times is brilliant.
I began by writing a list of characters we could do and even bought a mic that has a little inbuilt speaker so that I could sing to the residents too. At first we only saw a couple of people looking, but now most of the street waves or twitches their curtains at 11.30am each morning!
When I moved here 4 years ago I became familiar with about 4 people in my street. Who would’ve known that a desperately worrying time would lead to so many more friendships being formed from 2 metres away?
So far we’ve done Disney Princesses, Unicorns, rainbows, fairies, Maleficent and a dragon, Steampunk dolls, Mary Poppins, Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz) and Glinda the Good Witch, 1940’s, 1950’s and my favourite… Santa and his elf!
It was BAKING this Tuesday and I was dressed in full Father Christmas outfit, complete with beard, wig and hat. I had ordered a pack of 50 toilet rolls that I stacked inside my cart, which was decorated with tinsel, a reindeer and more! I put some vintage festive songs on my Bluetooth speaker and we made our way down the road. Everyone who waved got a toilet roll and I ran out! I left one on a parked ambulance, along with some sweets. “Ho ho ho! Meeeeerrrrry Covidmas!”
What else have I done? Oh! I wrote a parody of ‘It’s in His Kiss’ (made famous by Cher in Mermaids). It’s called ‘Is it Covid’ and you can see it HERE.
I’ll keep you updated on happenings. I’m just trying real hard not to lose my marbles. X
In early March I had the pleasure of working with Chris Nicholls of CSN Photography! We visited the beautiful and peaceful GWSR as they prepared for yet another busy season. The weather was questionable, but we made the most of the odd sunny spell between the showers!
So here are my top pick pics for you! In the 1940’s themed images I am wearing an original 40’s swing coat, crepe dress and hat. The shoes are from Johnson’s Originals. In the 50’s/60’s images I am wearing an original novelty print vintage dress and Clark’s Shoes.
I am very much looking forward to shooting with CSN Photography again. As he is used to frequenting at vintage military events, Chris has a keen eye for detail! It’s a shame we couldn’t shoot more of the dress, but it was flipping cold at this point and the weather was really turning!
As promised, here are some more of my photographs from this incredible Steampunk event. I was anchored to Lincoln Castle, so didn’t get so see other areas of the city in action, but my days were still full of wonder as you will now see. Sunday was a washout all day, but it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits. I even had people dancing in the rain whilst I was on stage! In regards to my outfit, I made the little plaid jacket, matching bag and hats (Bird Nest fascinator and Cheshire Cat mini topper). The bolt of fabric used (and on the little topper hat modeled by Betsy with the brolly) was the same used on Sherlock. My leather corset belt was custom made for me a few years ago, for the Steampunk Dr. Sketchy in Birmingham. I am thrilled to be able to wear it again! Betsy’s little fur is an original Victorian child’s capelette, whilst mine is original 1940’s.
This year I had the honour of being part of the world’s largest steampunk event! Taking place in areas within Lincoln city, I was based at Lincoln Castle. The setting was stunning, the people incredibly friendly and the outfits unbelievable. I am doing this in 2 parts as I have so many photos! I will also post some video when I have a bit of time too!
I was dressed in my Mary Coggins outfit on the first day (but forgot my flipping rocket pack! What a twit!!!), the second day was cold and rainy, so I wore a more subdued brown ensemble, whilst on the last day I donned my Haberdasher’s costume!
If you recognise yourself or friends in the photos then PLEASE get in touch so that I can title them correctly!
My first big sale was my Apothecary Hat to this wonderful young gent!
Witch way did the Warlock go?
Mary Coggins and a beautifully dark young lady
Betsy spent most of Saturday morning wanting to find ‘Der red dragon’. It was like a Welsh ‘Where’s Wally.’
Great outfits! Titanic hat and lifesaver vest talking to a haunted mansion ghost
Steampunk VM Camper!
This would’ve been a fabulously arty photo if Betsy hadn’t decided to pick her nose…
What a lovely weekend! We managed to hire our first ever baby sitter (eek!) and head off to Woody at War’s 1940’s dance at Stoneleigh on the Saturday evening. We haven’t been to a dance since I was pregnant! The last time I went to this one was when Kieran at the USO Shows was running it, so I didn’t know what to expect. Woody had done an excellent job and had even set up a little USO stage for me to sing on! The place was packed and everyone looked wonderful.
On the Sunday it was time for the Stoneleigh Militaria Show. I was singing in the foyer at 1pm, so we had plenty of time to walk around the stalls! I had managed to do little victory rolls in Betsy’s hair and she looked ridiculously cute in her khaki jumpsuit and headscarf.
There were 3 really good clothing stalls at the show 2 in the main hall, 1 in the second) and I got a lovely bargain 50’s straw bag and a jacket to wear with my Heyday trousers. Richard got me a lovely wool suit for Valentine’s that I can’t wait to wear!
It was wonderful to see some familiar faces and new ones alike. Some people I hadn’t seen for so long, they didn’t realise that I now sing?! So many cuddles and greetings, lots of cooing over Queen B and her hair, lots of catching up and a great singing set. I always enjoy this show, I think many of us treat it as the ‘real’ new year in the 1940’s scene as it is the first event of the year for us! It seemed to be a lot busier this year too.