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Category Archives: Home and Leisure

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!

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.

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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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Walking Away Those Blues


Well, Betsy and I are still doing our crazy walks down our road and even managed to make the local paper. Thank you to the residents who got in touch with them!

Stratford Herald. Main image by Mark Williamson, Tinkerbell image by Kitten Von Mew, Santa image by Rachel Perks, other images from residents of my road.

I’ve also got a few more images of some of our other walks below…

Dorothy from Wizard of Oz
Glinda the Good Witch
Alice in Wonderland
White Rabbit
White Rabbit/ Easter Bunny
Taken by Rachel Perks
Pebbles from The Flintstones!
Pebbles and Her Pet. How do people wear this in marathons?! I was struggling after an hour!

Covid-19 Morale


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!

Taken by Rachel Perks

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!”

Taken by Jon Mulkeen

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.

Taken by Kizzy Warner

I’ll keep you updated on happenings. I’m just trying real hard not to lose my marbles. X

Tennessee Wig Walk


I thought I would share this video with you. It’s Betsy Rose and I singing Tennessee Wig Walk in the garden yesterday!

I’ve been singing it on the way to nursery school for a few weeks now and she loves it.

https://youtu.be/yesrC2Mn0DE

Witchcraft and Wizardry Afternoon Tea at Fawsley Hall


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Today we made a trip to the stunning Fawsley Hall Hotel and Spa for a Harry Potter inspired Afternoon Tea! Dressed for the theme, we entered the jaw-dropping hall, which was the perfect setting for our spellbinding lunch.

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After a glass of Butterbeer, we were treated to fresh loose-leaf tea and 3 tiers of sandwiches, scones and cakes. The sandwiches were cheese and pickle, ham and mustard, cucumber and cream cheese, egg and little brioche buns with salmon mousse. On to the scones and I was very relieved to see that they were freshly made and not frozen ones! The pots contained strawberry jam and a very generous helping of clotted cream (the first time I haven’t had to ask for extra!).

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As you can see by my photos, the cakes and tarts were certainly Honeydukes worthy and brought a smile to all of our faces. I enjoyed the chocolate cauldron, filled with mousse, but there was an awful lot of chocolate on the plate so I had to be careful (migraines). It would’ve been nice to have a fresh fruit tart to bring a little tartness to all the sweet flavours and balance the palette, but it was still I wonderful spectacle and experience.

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Half way through, one of the waitresses brought out a few broomsticks and Betsy enjoyed zooming up and down the room with hers. She has yet to get into Harry Potter, but I dressed her as Hermione Granger in the hopes that some spark would stick!

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It was lovely to see Mr Mew dressed up and he may as well have been wearing an invisibility cloak when sat on the sofas! Almost identical patterning on his outfit as the upholstery! Ha ha ha!

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My lovely friend Charlotte came with us. With a spidery headdress and flashes of red from her crinoline, it gave her a Merry Widow air! I decided on loosely basing my outfit on a young Professor McGonagall, with tartan skirt and matching ribbon in my shoes.

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All in all a magical afternoon was had by all and we look forward to hearing of other themed teas and dinners to get involved in!

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Art Fever UK Custom Blinds

Art Fever UK Custom Blinds

Well, I was hoping that by October, Betsy would have an awesome new bed and slight theme change in her bedroom.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, but I did get one thing done at least! Although she has blackout curtains, the early morning and late afternoon summer sunshine beamed through the top and sides at ridiculous-o-clock each day. I decided to get her some blackout blinds and fancied some with stars on. I just could find anything quite right! I didn’t want a pattern, but more the feeling of looking out at a magical night sky.

I luckily found Art Fever UK on Etsy. Located in Warwickshire, they have a super little workshop and a really friendly service. My messages were answered quickly and I decided to go and meet them and collect my order instead of waiting for the courier!

How great does this look? You can literally choose from thousands of stock images or use your own photos to get printed on custom blinds or canvases! The quality is fantastic and as they are made to measure, it was the perfect fit for Betsy’s window.

I had a wonderful time chatting in the office and meeting their two resident doggies. So flipping cute!

I can’t wait to get a different design for our bedroom now! If anyone else suffers with migraines, you’ll know how important a really dark room is and sometimes curtains just aren’t enough. So whether you are redecorating in the new year and want to theme a room or just want a decorative blackout blind for a better night’s sleep, I definitely recommend these guys!

You can find their website HERE.

Wyevale Stratford’s Santa Breakfast


On the first Sunday of December, we booked the Breakfast with Santa at Wyevale Garden Centre!

I thought a good old English breakfast was a fine way to start the festive season and as I had never had one at Wyevale, this was the perfect opportunity.

Crackers festooned the tables, twinkling lights welcomed us and Father Christmas’ favourite elf helped bring drinks, answer queries and add to the wonderful atmosphere. We had pre-chosen our meals (hot breakfast all round!), so it was just a case of getting our hot drinks (all refilled for free!) and await our food. It did take quite a while to arrive, BUT it was worth the wait. I would rather not compromise quality with speed, I mean… what would you rather have? Cardboard bacon cooked hours ago and put under a hot lamp or freshly cooked-to-order yumminess? Exactly.

The wait wasn’t that bad as the children were all given ginger bread men and icing pens, could go in the soft play area and had colouring sheets with crayons too.

After our hearty meal, the elf encouraged all the children to shout for Santa and low and behold he answered their screams of excitement. Bell in hand, he walked around every table, talking to the visitors, high-five’ing the kids and offering cuddles to anyone who wanted them!

Once he had done the rounds Father Christmas took a seat and awaited the children and their wish lists. After a chat with their favourite festive celeb, the kids got a chance to choose a gift from an overwhelming display of soft toys, crafts and games. I was really impressed with the wide choice available and got rather jealous too…

The experience is £8 for adults (inclusive of full English breakfast, toast, free refills on teas, coffee, cappuccino etc), £10 for children (inclusive of mini full English, soft drink with free refills, gingerbread man with icing pens, visit with Santa Claus and a choice of gift). If you think that a full English is about £7, the fact that you get as many tea and coffee refills as you like is a really sweet deal. I think maybe giving parents a 10% discount voucher for the store would be a nice gesture too and I may suggest this to Wyevale myself.

I felt that the experience was definitely worth the money and the fact that they have an indoor soft play area really helps. The staff were cheerful, attentive and helpful, whilst the food was fresh and delicious. I will definitely be back for more breakfasts in the future!

Circus Themed Baby Bedroom


It didn’t actually start off with this theme! We had a seaside idea in mind, but I got over excited in Ikea after spotting the bed canopy and everything else seemed to fall in place! You may recognise the awesome metal suitcase shelves that we used to have in the bathroom of our previous house. They are perfect in Betsy’s room and are now adorned with vintage Ladybird books and toys! The bedding set is from Asda Living and came with a quilt, bumper and a couple of sheets. I adore the retro lion and tiger cushions, mini suitcases and melamine plates! They are from Dotcomgiftshop and tie everything in together! The elephant cushion was a recent buy from Sass & Belle. It is so funny and they do a zebra wearing a cowboy hat too!

After scouring the internet for a hot air balloon light, I decided to make my own. The ones I found were either too expensive or had teddy bears, bows and pearls everywhere. I am so pleased with how it turned out that I am now taking commissions! I even made little peg people of Richard, Betsy and I! If you would like one with your choice of theme (Imagine a steampunk version!), then message me for details.

So here it is, I hope you like it! Her room is very small, but I tried to fill it with lots of cheery things and sensory objects!

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Christmas 2015


Well I hope you all had a wonderful Yule! I was lucky enough to perform at a Masonic event in Birmingham again, singing Christmas crooners and vintage numbers. They put on a lavish banquet and we had a marvelous time!

Christmas Eve was spent in our favourite cafe The Forteas in Stratford upon Avon! I serenaded them with some more yuletide numbers and 40’s classics as people sat and enjoyed their afternoon tea. It was hard not to turn all my attention to Betsy as she was wearing an adorable Christmas dress and would light up whenever I turned to her. Her smile really does cut through the dullest day.

On Christmas Day, we spent time with the family and my sister flew back from the USA to be with us all. Betsy is still too young to appreciate the festive season, but she was still spoiled with some amazing gifts from family and friends. It will be fantastic next year (and years to come), when she can get excited over the twinkly lights and wrapping paper. I wonder what she will think of her first snowfall?

So here are a few pictures, I hope you enjoy them and forgive me for not posting anything for a while. Babies sure do take up all your time and energy and it is a rare thing to have the opportunity to sit at a computer nowadays!

 

Betsy Rose got this adorable deer hat from Aunty Siss!

Betsy Rose got this adorable deer hat from Aunty Siss!

 

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Just before my performance at the Masonic Christmas event

Just before my performance at the Masonic Christmas event

 

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Our wonderful day at The Forteas

Our wonderful day at The Forteas

 

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Aunty Siss! She also bought Betsy that toadstool rattle!

 

 

 

A fantastic gift from Lil' Siss! Star Wars Christmas jumpers!!!

A fantastic gift from Lil’ Siss! Star Wars Christmas jumpers!!!