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War and Peace 2012 Photos


Swing Time Sweethearts and Kitten Von Mew at War and Peace Show

Swing Time Sweethearts, Richard and Kitten Von Mew at War and Peace Show 2012

Well, I cannot believe another year of Beltring is over! Thanks to everyone who made the trip so enjoyable, especially Paul Harper and the entertainers, Terry Elliot, Vintage Military Magazine, Mr Mew and his family, and of course everyone who came to watch my act!

Kitten von Mew War and Peace 2012

Kitten von Mew with Terry Elliot, Ashley Elliot and Rex Cadman, War and Peace 2012. Taken by Mr Mew

The weather was ‘squidgily temperamental’ when we got there with slashes of heavy tire tracks all over the caravan field. Mr Mew did a brave job of ploughing through the banked-up mud in Big Bettie, towing Gracie Wheels.

The temperature stayed mild, making the days so much more enjoyable, although it did rain at night. The great thing about the South East is the sandy soil, which drains the water rather quickly. It was very strange though as although the surface crisped up, underneath was waterlogged, so you felt as if you were walking across someone’s water bed or a big duvet!

Pearly King War and Peace

Pearly King and Princess, taken by Kitten von Mew

I debuted my new act Lili Mewleen at the show and it seemed to go down very well. I was really pleased with everyone’s reaction to the costume too. It has been a while since I did a proper striptease at the show and as I had 2 adult performances this year, I made the most of my zip-sided Vollers Corset! Everyone was gob smacked that Richard had made my incredible lamp post prop too!

In the daytime I brushed off my old ‘Boobie Woobie Bugle Boy’ act from when I first performed with the USO, this time with a new costume. No sleaze, just some lovely ostrich fan action and live singing!
We had a few accidents whilst we were there (which made the week hilarious), including…

Mr Mew:

Dropping his baked beans on the floor and asking why the bean fairies hadn’t come to clean it up.

Breaking the front door handle clean off, so resorting to climbing through the toilet window and breaking down the internal door!

Asking me to move my cup of tea whilst he get the bedding out, so he didn’t spill it over. I moved it right over the opposite side…only for Mr Mew to send it flying.

 

Mrs Mew:

Burnt toast

Forgetting my lyrics and inhaling fur from my cape so I had to try not to have a coughing fit through my act!

The stalls at the show were yet again full of a lot of ‘man stuff’, but I got some FANTASTIC things!

WW2 Collectibles Stall

WW2 Collectibles Stall, War and Peace 2012. Taken by Kitten von Mew

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WWII Antiques, War and Peace 2012. Taken by Kitten von Mew

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WWII Memorabilia. Check out the hand painted pebble! Taken by Kitten von Mew

 

 

My buys:

An 1800’s ship porthole from a sunken boat off the coast of Devon (£20!)

A Woodbines cigarette, trench art photo frame made out of 42 packets (£priced at £18, got for £10!)

A Kings Coronation mug that Ive always wanted (priced at £28, got for £20)

2 gorgeous 40’s silk crepe dresses

An amazing deep red 30’s coat with red fox fur cuffs and fox stole collar

A 1930’s silk pajama top I will use as a blouse

A trench art bomb shell ashtray I gave to my cousin as a thank you for coming to the show

A brocade dress scarf for Mr Mew with a woven design of trains and a couple in Paris

Some Art Deco GWR brass buttons (£5 the lot!)

A dated pair of ATS stockings with a military arrow! (£4!)

A gorgeous brown felt 1940’s peaked tilt hat

A WWII Scottish War Dept poster saying ‘VICTORY starts in the Kitchen (£25?!)
I also found Mr Mew a wonderful 1930’s Crombie suit which has never been worn. Can’t believe I got it for £40. It is gorgeous and will be a great excuse to wear some different ties!

Kitten von Mew and Jive Aces

Kitten, Peter from Jive Aces and Gary Gibbs at Beltring!

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Veterans at the Sunday Service. Taken by Kitten von Mew

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To melt the coldest of hearts. A modern day soldier offering himself as a step for a WWII veteran.

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Lee Parker and I at the Saturday Dance! Taken by Mr Mew

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Bagpipers. Apparently they don’t do requests. Taken by Kitten von Mew

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Richard with his boys Lewis and Darren. One very proud Pa! Taken by Kitten von Mew

 

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Military WW1 Truck detailing by Kitten von Mew

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WW1 Trench, my favourite diorama at the show! Taken by Kitten von Mew

 

Will post more soon!

 

 

Military World Magazine Launching at Beltring!


military world magazine

As our beloved WWII Reenactors Magazine has bitten the dust (*sob*), it is about time someone filled that empty void for us!  Well, Dave King has saved the day with Military World Magazine!

I have kindly been asked to write some more articles, so look out for my tuppence worth in each issue. The first one is due out at the War and Peace Show, so make sure you get your copy and support a British publication!

The magazine will feature reenacting groups, history, suppliers and more!

War & Peace Show 2012 – Boggy Beltring


ello-ello-cast-kitten-von-mew

All I can say is BRING YOUR WELLIES (or your ‘Rubbers’ as my American friend Stephanie calls them…hee hee hee!).

The fields are water-logged, the dirt will be churned from vehicle movement and foot glamour will be on hold this year!

Contrary to most people’s thoughts on the classic green, the first Dunlop Wellington Boots were matte black rubber, so if you have some, bring them for an authentic touch!

1940’s Dunlop Wellington Boot Factory, Liverpool

Why not tuck some trousers into them for a Women’s Land Army Look? Don’t forget to carry some dance shoes in your bag/ wicker basket for some much needed dancing in the main marquee!

Also, more great news is that some of the original cast from ‘Allo ‘Allo will be doing a skit in the main marquee at around 2pm on a  few days of the event! Im mortified that I will be getting changed for my performance at 2.30pm at that point, but so glad they will be back again as they were a hoot last year!

Well, I will be there from Wednesday to Sunday, performing every day and some evenings, so I hope you catch a performance. Most of the child friendly performances will be my Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy performance, with an improved costume! This was the first act I ever did with the USO Shows and it will be nice to bring it back again. My new Lili Mewleen act will mostly be used for the adult evening shows, but I will do some family friendly shows too.

See you there Catnips!

STOP PRESS!!! Kitten’s New Burlesque Act


kitten von mew as lili marleenThis is an exclusive look at my new costume and act ‘Lili Mewleen’, which will be released from it’s burlesque shackles at the War and Peace Show 2012!

A nod to one of my favourite female icons Marlene Dietrich, this act features a 7 ft lampost made by Mr. Mew and a STUNNING Vollers corset that has a ‘quick release function’. I got to try on this stunner of a corset when I did the interview for The One Show and met the gorgeous Corina and her fabulous group of ladies in the factory. Knowing how much work goes into these British made corsets has given me even more faith in the UK industry!

I made the fascinator, garter and bustle. The dress was once a rather black lacy and frilly affair (once owned by a drag queen) of which I stripped down to the basics and started again with electric blue!

This fun act will also be staged at Twinwood Festival this year in a brand new entertainment hall, which will also house my swoon-fest Max Raabe!

Pictures from 2011


Today I thought I would bring you a selection of 10 of my images from 2011 and reasons why I have chosen them!

This was taken at Christmas (obviously) by Matt Keller and was one of the very few shoots I did in winter time last year. I like this image because it reminds me of  a lovely Christmas and rounding off a tough year with positivity and hope for the future; the engagement ring for obvious reasons, a glimpse of one of my handmade decorations symbolising my new found love for crafts in my spare time, the red white and blue are a nod to the patriotic WWII themes dotted around the house and the necklace was my Grandmothers, but it actually reminds me of the colours of my Grandad’s tobacco pipe.

 

This was a little moment captured by Les Auld at War and Peace of Mr. Moo and I dancing together. We are never stoney faced when we dance. Whether we are laughing and smiling or our eyes closed, it means a lot to both of us. It was a lovely surprise to stumble across this image online and it has become one of my favourites.

 

Taken by Oli Scarff, this was a very impromptu moment after I had just done a press shoot for the Southbank Centre in aid of the Festival of Britain. I had just got changed into something more comfy and Richard and I had headed down from the roof to the first floor outdoor area. I took off my shoes to cool my feet but Richard grabbed my hand and pulled us both into the freezing Appearing Rooms fountain. We danced around in the water, getting absolutely soaked; it was so cold! A few of the press photographers came down the roof steps and one snapped some great images of us dancing. I later contacted Ghetty Images and got 3 of them framed. They are now on our livingroom wall and make me smile.

 

 

This image, although fantastic in it’s own right, reminds me of how precious true friends are. It is through the hard times that you find out which people in your life are really there for you in heart as well as in presence and Lisa of Candee Photography is one of those. My closest friend; we always have a giggle on shoots and although disagreements are few and far between, we find ways to overcome difficulties or awkward situations with ease.

We first met on a Sakura Designs shoot, where I had come to London to model hats and she was the photographer. Quiet, rather shy, but a smile to knock the clouds of the highest mountain, we worked well together and I was sorry to have to leave early. Since then we have done countless shoots, including the one above which is for my 2013 calendar. I don’t know what I would do without her and Jacob.

 

Yes another image taken by Les Auld at War and Peace! This was the debut of my Carmen Mewanda act and a daunting period for me after weight gain through illness. Of course as soon as I got on stage, I loved every moment. It’s funny thinking how upset and unconfident I feel an hour before and how I adore it all once Im up there. I chose this image because of what is actually going on that you cannot see. Although a child friendly version of the act, I managed to vacate the marquee of a party of 30 school children and 2 female teacher…leaving one male one behind and a lot of laughter from my friends Lee and Adam. I couldn’t help but laughing at the teachers nervously shoving the children out the door, even though I was wearing more than a swimsuit on a beach.

 

I flipping love this snap. Taken by Richard and War and Peace, I was strutting around in my new vintage hat, wearing Heyday Online trousers and blouse and everyday went to see my friend Shona at her stall. She is such a lovely girl and I model for her when I can.

 

Another candid image taken at Goodwood Revival. I have chosen this image as it was the last day and I was so very tired, losing my speaking voice and suddenly went into a rather silly mood. I think all us entertainers were getting  little exhausted and I ended up sitting on my ‘karaoke crate’ to rest my aching feet and sing in one of the VIP areas. As I sang White Cliffs of Dover, one of the comical cleaning ladies was passing and I thrust the microphone at her. She instinctively started singing and it was a really lovely moment.

 

Ive chosen this picture (taken by Candee Photography) as it was a really proud moment for both of us. How often do you walk into WHSmith and see yourself on the cover of a glossy? I also chose it because of our hilarious ‘studio setup’ but Im sorry, we cannot reveal our secrets…

Not chosen for the quality of image, but more the people in it. My dear friends Don and Stephanie, who I bonded with through a sad passing of one of my fans. Also because you cannot tell that I am suffering from Laryngitis, Sinusitis, a temperature of 104 and jetlag.

 

Kitten von Mew by Lee Parker

Need I say more?…

Upcoming Year


It has been quite a while since I last wrote on my blog…well, a while for me considering the verbal waterfall that usually sploshed it’s way over these pages.

This year has somewhat crept up on me. I knew it was coming; it happened to warn me of its existence thanks to a 2012 page at the back of my diary, so I should have known really.

I am excited, daunted, refreshed and cynical all at the same time. I cannot wait for our wedding and honeymoon, the planning of which has helped me through some very tough times, but then you get the financial worries that rear their ugly heads, even with budget weddings such as ours. In fact, the wedding isn’t the issue, it is the honeymoon! After such a financial struggle all year and cutting corners on wedding expenses with ‘make do and mend’ creative thinking, we wanted to be able to let our hair down on a honeymoon that we felt we deserved. All great on paper, but when the phone number you thought was on the bottom of the invoice is in fact the price of your holiday,  it starts to dawn on you that even the best laid plans and saving as much as we can each month may just lead to a long weekend in Bognor Regis.

I have also managed to fill up every weekend in May with performance bookings and considering we are getting married on the 2nd June, I should have possibly left more time for decorating the venue and organising!

Other excitements for the year…Well there is The Berliner of course, which along with the Halloween version will be a great highlight of this year. Who can imagine singing 1940’s songs on a military steam train to Berlin, followed by a performance for the mayor and press and a visit to WWII bunkers?

Of course my dear, faithful War and Peace Show is in July and I have an idea of a new little act I may do there this year. I can’t wait to catch up with friends and see what new dioramas the groups have come up with this year.

My local Wartime in the Vale weekender will be my 1st event as a married woman AND my Birthday on the Saturday! I am hoping to catch up with local wedding guests as well as enjoy performing at this lovely event!

A rookie at Twinwood, my first taster of this famous event was only last August bank holiday, where I performed in 2 of the small clubs in the evening. After a fantastic response I am back in 2012 for another stint in Glenn Miller’s haunt…

The glamour of Goodwood Revival calls once more in September as I get to squeeze the near life out of my 2 fabulous girls Sue and Milly and wave at famous racing drivers like I know them. This year I will NOT overuse my voice and end up with Laryngitis again!

War and Peace 2011 Photos (more!)


Here are a few more photos from the show, apologies for the delay!

Snow Covered Tank at War and Peace 2011 and Kitten von Mew

Spot the Kitten! Hilarious German stall at War and Peace 2011

Kitten and Richard at War and Peace 2011

Richard with army camp backdrop at War and Peace 2011

 

My Article in WWII Reenactors Magazine – May Edition


Kitten von Mew by Ade Pitman

I have been terribly lucky with most of the events I have attended so far. Although subject to a dust bath at War and Peace, I would rather this than an impromptu mud wrap from a passing jeep! Although hot and sometimes itchy in their WWII uniforms, men have it reasonably easy at such events as the more dirt they pick up (minus Ketchup, toothpaste and coffee), the more authentic their outfits look. Less can be said as a lady trying to look the epitome of glamour as you stagger around open fields in your 1940’s heels and hippedy-hop down dirt tracks impressed with deep tyre marks. Sometimes you spend more time making sure you don’t fall down than you do enjoying the event. I cannot count the number or times I have staggered across a potholed track in my 40’s outfits, having to save myself from embarrassment by either ending in a light jog or looking over my shoulder and tutting loudly at the lack of health and safety for ridiculous shoe wearers such as myself…It’s as if military events weren’t made for high heeled shoes! The horror!

I always have my survival kit at events – Red lipstick is a must. Even if you wear the 24 hour stay stuff, I personally find myself eating it off my lips, so an emergency supply is always a good idea. Next, a loose powder incase of a down pour of heatwave. I actually use a perfumed powder, which is more like a scented talc on a standard powder puff. I load the puff with powder before I go out and pop it in an empty compact that I pop in my handbag. If you are wearing false eyelashes, bring the glue with you as they may decide to become unstuck at the corners and leave you looking as if a couple of spiders are taking a kip on your eyelids…Next up is the inevitable first aid kit of paracetamol, a couple of plasters in case of blisters and any medication. I bring a small compact camera and my phone of which I keep discrete. There’s nothing worse that ruining the vintage ambience by clamping a modern phone to your ear or texting unnecessarily. Embrace your surroundings and people watch. Remember life before emails and mobile phones for a weekend!

Stockings can be a real issue at events. You only need to catch your fully fashioned nylons whilst posing on a half track and that is a £10 stocking down the drain. They aren’t cheap you know boys, unless a Spiv can get you a good deal! I cheat on occasion and wear special fully fashioned stockings that have elastine in them. I pick them up on occasion in second hand shops in the packet. Made in the 60’s, they still feature the classic keyhole and seam to prove that they have been made on the original machines, but have the benefit of a comfortable fit, no creasing at the ankle and they are little more hard wearing than precious nylons that you can save for dinners, dances and less hazardous pursuits. Don’t forget to slip a spare pair in your bag!

If you are feeling brave and heading out in a scrumptious pair of heels, just remember how much walking there is at a lot of outdoor events. If your partner is gallivanting around like a 5 year old at the Wacky Warehouse, just let him go and play and take your time. The last thing you want is a broken ankle after you rush over to stop him buying an elephant foot plant pot for the living room. Sitting serenely on the grass to ‘take in the scenery’ as your poor throbbing feet have a breather is no bad thing. You can also take these resting points as a water stop as keeping hydrated is very important in the summer season. I always make sure I have a flat pair of shoes in the car and a pair of 40’s Heyday trousers, so that if my outfit does get a little vexatious, I can slip into something more comfortable but equally as fitting to the occasion. Rocket Originals saddle shoes are my usual choice and great for dancing in or if it starts to get chilly!

So you have your handbag sorted and a change of clothing in case of bad weather or uncooperative toes. What are you going to wear? If you are stepping out in a vintage dress then CHECK YOUR SEAMS! Im not talking stockings, I mean the seams of your garments. I once bought a gorgeous vintage dress I was going to wear at a USO Dance it looked almost unworn. When I got to the venue I swung my legs out of the car and hoisted myself out of the car, only to hear the unmistakeable sound of my dress tearing at the back. On another occasion I was at my friends wedding in a vintage dress I had tailored in and as I through myself into the spirit of catching the bouquet, the original thread seams that had not been touched came apart and opened top to bottom at my sides. I was clutching the bouquet but suddenly wearing a silk tabbard. If you are planning to dance, especially Lindy Hop, think of your underarm seams, hips and back. Go over them with a sewing machine and new thread if you have time.

To avoid sunstroke, headaches and as a great excuse to buy more things, make sure you have a headscarf or sun hat to shade your head in hot weather and don’t forget those sunglasses! The more authentic accessories you can add to your outfit, the more fantastic you will look. There is nothing like seeing a lady strolling around an event in an iconic hat.

Lastly, the hair. A strong hairspray is a great idea and I use Tresemme Freeze Hold in a white can. If I am pincurling my hair, I will spray it on as a temporary setting lotion before curling. I spray my hair again once I have completed my style. It is super stuff as my hair doesn’t like holding curl at all and aids my Victory Rolls to stay firm and resolute in gusts of angry wind.

On a final note, smile and enjoy the event! No hoity-toity diva looks, smile and the world will smile with you…Be proud to have made such an effort and there is no greater beauty than the beaming face of a woman who has just spotted a bargain on a vintage clothing stall…

Burlesque Act Debut – Pipe Dreams


This is a brand new act that I have been toying with for around 5 years, but decided to do it in dedication and memory of my beloved ‘Grandad with the Pipe’ who flamed my passion for the 1940’s and who was the inspiration for this act in the first place!

Pipe Dreams debuted at War and Peace 2011 and this family friendly version (the first time I had ever run through it properly!) was filmed by my lovely friend Lee Parker.

War and Peace Show – Carmen Mewanda Burlesque


This video was taken by my great friend Lee Parker of my new Carmen Mewanda act that debuted at Wartime in the Vale this year. This clip was recorded on the Saturday evening at War and Peace 2011 with live singing and a fun strip tease. I hope you enjoy!