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Stratford Festival of Motoring 2019

Stratford Festival of Motoring 2019

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Copyright Mark Anton Smith

Stratford Herald 9th May 2019

I haven’t been to the Stratford Festival of Motoring for at least 10 years. Many years ago, you just had to wonder down the little road on Waterside on a Saturday to see a plethora of amazing classic bikes, sports cars and rods. It was THE place to be seen with your customised vehicle and I remember drooling over Harley Davidson low riders and the odd classic car.

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Copyright Kitten von Mew

This tradition got banned because of complaints from the home owners. It was a shame, but understandable. Now, unless you like to sit in carparks, this car show is the best way to see some of the amazing vehicles that once could be found parked up in town.

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Copyright Kitten von Mew

I saw some really wonderful cars and campers, but would’ve preferred it if all the vintage vehicles had been in their own section. We found a few up Henley Street, a couple more at the market place and then a couple more in another road. I personally don’t want to have to look at suped up Ford Fiestas or the Mercedes posing cars you see every weekend going up Bridge Street. That’s just my view, I know others may prefer the modern or 90’s motors. I would just prefer it if the cars were sectioned into eras or types.

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Copyright Kitten von Mew

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Copyright Kitten von Mew

There was a fantastic American Taxi and some beautiful hot rods at the motor festival, which were jaw dropping. Ive added some super photos by Charlotte Doran Davis, Mark Anton Smith and a few snaps that I got too…

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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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Halloween Photoshoot with Charlotte Doran Davies


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It was an utter pleasure to shoot with photographer Charlotte Doran Davies a couple of weeks back at the incredible Pumpkins R Us!

Situated in Kenilworth, this wonderful location offers a mind-boggling array of pumpkins and Halloween decor! I enjoyed it so much last year that we went 4 times, and this year Ive been twice already.

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I had created a black and white outfit for myself and Betsy Rose that were meant to be worn at Crich Steampunk Event. My skirt was repurposed from a ballgown I used to sing in (but never fit very well). I cut out all the underskirts and re-draped the top layers; adding contrasting trim in orange and teal green. I created a bustle pillow for underneath and wore butterfly tights to compliment Betsy’s wings!

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I also had a wonderful black coat that didn’t make it into any of my chosen photographs. I have to work on the shape as it made me look bulky with my bustle. It was a long one I bought second hand off of Ebay that I cut and reshaped. The long coat had faux fur trim all around the bottom and up the front, so I reused this once I had cut it into shape. Its a pity it didn’t look right, but I will get it sorted!

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The hat I made from hessian, EVA foam, part of a wooden boat, pillow stuffing and Fimo, with some trim, ribbon and battery LEDs to finish it off. It is in homage to Travella; a character from Boodle – A Steampunk Story, by Tilly Copperplate.

Now onto Betsy’s outfit! The skirt was repurposed from a beautiful Laura Ashley one I have had knocking around for 10 years. It no longer fit me and was such a great fabric. I cut it down, took in the waist and used the trimmed fabric and netting to create a bustle effect. Trimmed with pom poms in the same colours as mine, it matched really well, without looking too ‘Mommy Dearest.’ The pierrot clown hat was made from EVA foam, with teal green pom poms, pleated fabric trim from her skirt and laser cut cogs. The back has a leather buckle piece to bring in more of the steampunk element.

The orange of the pumpkins worked so well with the boldness of the outfits. I wanted to create a slightly Gothic, Tim Burton-esque Steampunk feel and the balance was pretty tricky. The colourful trim helped with this I think and Charlotte did an wonderful job capturing our day.

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Thank you so much to Pumpkins R Us for letting us into their marquee and their fields before they were open to the public. Hopefully you will see some of our images gracing their website page next year!

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More Photos From Stratford upon Avon Christmas Festival


Thank you to the extremely talented local photographer Charlotte Doran Davies for these wonderful images!

Next year I hope to take some photos of the actual festival myself!

Just in case you are not aware, I made the little top hat myself. Check out Cogsmith’s Curious Creations on Facebook for more designs!