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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!

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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!

Walker Stalker…What a Total Comi Con


Kitten Von Mew and UK Neagan

Now, I remember whinging about MCM Comicon and the fact that was just stalls and a minor scattering of C-list celebs, but Walker Stalker was an absolute money scam! I’d made a cool zombie hand hat and everything!

The tickets were about average cost if you managed to get a BOGOF deal for general admission (£44 for both of you), but if you wanted something a little more upgraded then these were the options…

£190 got you earlier entry, a special lanyard (oooooh…), special VIP queues for autographs and photos. You don’t actually get an autograph or photo in this deal.

For a mere £660 (?!) your Gold VIP pass will get you early entry, special lanyard, 2 photo ops and 2 autographs, special seating and special lines for photo/autographs.

The Platinum VIP pass was only a poultry £1320.00 each and gave you 4 photos, 4 autographs, lunch, a basket full solid gold kittens…wait, no a special pin badge and lanyard, special seating away from the commoners and special lines. But remember…if you have kids, you need to buy them Platinum passes too or they aren’t allowed in…

So you’ve got your pass, now to catch a glimpse of your favourite Walking Dead actors. Want a quick snap on your phone to show who’s here? Nope…special people designated to each celebrity scan the crowd and stand in the way of anyone trying to take a snap.

Ok, so how much for a photo op? Well you’re talking between £80 and £115 for each of the Walking Dead cast, £67.50 odd for each of The Sons of Anarchy guys and even Bruce Campbell (*swoon*) was only £67.50. For that price you get a professional 8 x 10 photo of you and your chosen celebrity. Want a quick chat? Not a chance. It lasts around 4 seconds. Click…”next!”…click…”next”…lucky I looked bloody fabulous and Bruce loved the outfit and was a really amazing guy, so I got more than a friendly nod. He also changed his pose drastically for each shot. Seriously, I’ve seen some of the Norman Reedus pics and there may as well have been a cardboard cutout. Remember, none of those prices include an autograph.

Right, you want one of those now? Maybe you want your photo op picture signed or a piece of memorabilia? Sure! That’s £40-80 per item depending on celebrity please! And you want a quick snap taken with them too as you’ve queued for over an hour to see them? Sure! They only charge £40 TO £60 FOR A SELFIE! Still think this is value for money???

Don’t forget that some celebs are ‘cash only’ and don’t let you know until you’ve been queuing to the pay point. Then you have to queue at the only working cash machine at the front entrance and rejoin the autograph queue again (if you stomp your foot like I did) or go back to the end (like someone else). I queued up for Bruce Campbell and wish I had not said I wanted an autograph on my photo op picture as the woman wouldn’t allow me to still have an 8 x 10″ movie still although I paid the same as everyone else. He was great though, remembered me from the photo op and had a great little chat. He even said that people who made an effort dressing up should be let in for free. After saying goodbye he called out “Meow Baby!” Which pretty much made my day!

The website advertised a zombie maze so I was really looking forward to that! Oh no, that isn’t included in your entrance fee, you only find out it’s and extra £5 each when you get in there! Worth it? Not a bloody chance. A metal fence and tarpaulin zig zagging walkway with about 6 actors rattling gates or clawing at the air. Only jumpy bit was the chainsaw at the end, but that’s purely because it is so loud.

There were quite a few stalls there, but not as varied as your normal Comicons. Most were selling the same stuff, unofficial cushions and t-shirts, one random one selling bullets in the sizes that some of the characters use in WD (?!?!), a couple of great laser cut acrylic jewellery stalls and a random one selling alpaca toys (yes we got one for Betsy!).

They did have a small stage for a few actor Q&A’s, but if you were stuck in a queue you could hear anything that was being said.

A few people had really made an effort with costumes and looked amazing, but for the amount of people there, I really expected more.

The feedback I’ve had from others that were there and people who have been previous years was that this one was an expensive shambles. Prices have shot up, the ticket scanners weren’t working properly, some people were queuing until midday on Saturday and the whole thing wasn’t worth it.

I made the best of it as we had come a long way, queued for ages and paid a lot of money, but I won’t be going back. It was an utter dream to meet one of my heroes, but I’ll stick to regular Comicons from now on!

Dressing Gown Lingerie Shoot with Lee Parker Photography


Another set for you! Wearing Playful Promises Betty Page lingerie and an incredible custom made robe! Hair by the talented KDB Vintage Hairstyling.

All photos copyright Lee Parker Photography, so please ask permission before using.

Bridal Boudoir Shoot with Lee Parker


I am finally showing you some more photos from the fantastic shoot I did late last year with Lee Parker Photography (Sussex). We only had the West Midlands venue for 6 hours, but managed to do a few different themes within that time and incorporated some bouquets, shoes and veil from local businesses!

This bridal boudoir photo shoot turned out beautifully and features shoes and veil from Boho Bride Boutique in Stratford upon Avon as well as brooch bouquets by Kerry Gold at Bouquet Chic Unique. The stockings are vintage 1950’s as is my bustier and the garters have been made by Extra Special Touch.

My hair was masterfully styles by the talented Karen D Bebbington of KDB Vintage Hairstyling!

I will post images of the other parts of the shoot asap and we have another booked in April! Yippeeeeee!

If you would like to book Lee Parker for a shoot then you can message him

!

Remember that all these photos are the photographer’s copyright and cannot be used unless prior permission.

Stoneleigh Militaria 2018


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.

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!