An ode to my new cooker

Welcome to our home, new cooker!

You fit perfectly into the space left behind 

By the one who served us so well

She was too small but worked extra hard

You are exactly what we need now

Bigger and stronger, with extra goodies

I can’t wait to work with you!

Welcome to our home, new cooker

I dub thee Slyvia.

I’m embarrassingly excited about our new cooker. It’s the first brand new cooker I’ve owned – I’ve only ever had second hand or built in ones before. She’s a beaut though. Our old cooker was a great wee thing, but wee is the operative word there, a 50cm width in a 60cm space. It looked not great and it meant we were constantly dropping stuff down the sides. When it finally packed in (after 6 years of us having it, I don’t know how long my friend had it before us) I was sad – it was the best oven I’d owned for baking and such. The brand (Zanussi) is pretty expensive and there was little chance of replacing it with a comparable one. Damnit. Because it died on us so suddenly, we didn’t exactly have the spare cash floating around for a decent replacement. I looked on gumtree and ebay, but Gof was insistent on a brand new one.

I looked around and didn’t see anything either of us liked. It was clear we needed a 60cm one and that limited the bells and whistles we could get. I decided to hold off a few days. I’m glad I did! Going back onto the Curry’s website, I spotted a Zanussi on sale, from £549.99 (ie waaay out of budget) to £299.99! My awesome mother-in-law loaned us some cash so we wouldn’t struggle with the added expense this month (thanks M!). Even more luckily, we were able to take advantage of a special offer through Gof’s bank, so the total came to £279.99. I’ve never really paid attention to those bank offers, but I will now!

So essentially, we paid £80 for a £550 cooker. Obviously, we will be paying M back (she’s saying she won’t take it but she bloody will!) but even then it’s still a freaking steal. Now we have a cooker that fits in the space and increased capacity, along with the awesome power of our old beloved cooker. Perfect.

And just in time for Christmas!

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Gutted. Seriously gutted.

So a unicorn appeared in a charity shop last week. A red Kitchen Aid mixer, looking shiny and new.

*chorus of angels*

*chorus of angels*

I was overjoyed. I needed to have this in my life. It was going to be available to buy on Saturday 7th November, and I was determined to be there before opening to stake my claim. So Friday night rolled around, and my plan was to be at work then go home (around 4am) then just stay awake and walk down to my date with DESTINY. There was no price on it but it certainly would have been cheaper than buying brand new. It was my colour, my perfect and only.

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And I did it. I went to work, finished and went home. I put on Judge Judy and waited til it was time. I was wide awake and excited. I popped onto tumblr to clear some inbox messages and then….

It was 10am. What? When did that happen? NOOOOO!!!!!

The shop opened at 9am and my Kitchen Aid was undoubtedly gone. I rushed along to confirm. Yup. I didn’t have the heart to ask how much it went for. Apparently my date with destiny was cancelled. I was stood up. Or I stood it up. I don’t know. All I knew was it was gone.

And that’s how Lime Crime got some small measure of revenge against me.

*sobs*

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womp womp

MCM ended up being a bit of a bust. I was too sore to do the cosplay thing, and I ended up only going on the Sunday and walking around on my crutch and on my own under a hat of shame.

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It’s not the hat’s fault really, I just felt sorry for myself. Cue sad violin. The hat is fabulous.

Still, it was pretty inspiring. Even though I wasn’t the only one wandering around in my civvies, it was total carnival of different fandoms and genres, and everyone was just in it to celebrate! It was encouraging that even most of the traders were in similar spirit, dressing up and enthusiastic about their own passions. Everyone seemed to be in deep and joyful conversation, and I wish I’d made a drinking game for the amount of ‘free hugs’ signs I seen! Or maybe not – alcohol poisoning isn’t cute.

After a while, I realised I was starting to feel the strain of walking around and I was lucky enough to nab a front seat to the Sunday Masquerade. For those (like myself) who’ve never been to a show like this, a Masquerade is part talent show, part costume design critique. There was a panel of judges and although not everyone was entered to ‘compete’ (some just wanted to celebrate their costume) the audience went out of our collective minds for each person and group to go on stage. The littlest geeks went up in costume with proud parents for applause and cheers, then the teens braved the stage before the contest portion started. I can now die knowing I’ve watched Winifred Sanderson perform ‘I’ve Got A Spell on You’, as well as seeing two of the happiest guys I’ve ever seen take about a minute and a half getting up the 4 steps to the stage in an AT-AT costume, panto horse style. It was the most I’ve laughed in ages! Overall, the level of dedication and talent was completely mind-blowing and I walked stumbled back home with a reinvigorated attitude to making the time in my life to create.

Since then, I’ve performed my last burlesque show I can for about a year. It was bittersweet, and probably something I’ll talk about soon. What going to MCM did for me though, was encourage me to continue making my costumes (up to the last minute!) better for the show, even though it’ll be a long time before I can use them again. I finally made a tentacle skirt for Ursula that is worthy of the diva she is, and I rhinestoned practically everything I could for Harley Quinn. She may be criminally insane, but she likes her guns to be wicked sparkly! It helped to see so many people making these costumes for the joy of making and wearing them, not just to perform. Think about it – some of those cosplayers will have spent 100+ hours on a costume they only plan on wearing once, so I should dedicate at least that to something I’ll eventually wear again.

Now I’m just waiting on my ankle surgery to happen so I can get working on getting back to normal. In the meantime, I’ll be creating. I’ve got the excuse of Halloween coming up, and I’ve already started on that! I’ll hopefully write about the process soon. Want a sneak peek? Of course you do!

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I’ll be working on it more today, check out my Instagram for updates!
Until next time,

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Mama’s first convention!

Hey guys, today I’m trying to sort out what I’m going to be doing for my very first con! I keep wanting to go but life gets in the way. Damnit, life! This time though I’m definitely absolutely for sure going to MCM!

Thanks to a lovely friend who accidentally bought 2 weekend tickets, I’ve finally got the chance to dress up and go along. Since I’ve not performed in a while, I’m excited about the prospect of getting creative and being surrounded by people who are as passionate and excited about their hobbies as I am! To me, burlesque and cosplay are very similar in that you really need to love what you do, the artistic pay-off is more important than financial gain. Your blood, sweat and tears go into your project as a way of expressive release. I miss that right now.

So, I’m doing 2 cosplays for MCM. Maybe, maybe 3. Luckily, I’m surrounded by friends who are experienced cosplayers who have already helped me in creating costumes for stage wear. In particular, Psyclone Jack (who has had experience in both burlesque and cosplay) has been a tremendous help in the construction of costumes. I’d totally recommend seeking him out for commissions if you want an awesome costume made!

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On Saturday I’ll be wearing my Ursula costume – with a few changes! When I made my costume I didn’t put much effort into making it comfortable, since I wouldn’t be wearing it long. This has been the impetus to improve on the costume, and make changes that will be both appropriate for long term wear and still easily removable. There will be more rhinestones too obviously! I figure that improving on the long term wear of the costume will increase the overall sturdiness of it, since I’ll also be taking it in and out of suitcases, different shows etc. Ursula comes in a few different parts, which I want to maintain. So far, she comprises of;

  • bra
  • underbust corset
  • pasties
  • wig
  • underskirt
  • stuffed tentacles
  • boa
  • fishnet tights (geddit?)
  • knickers

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I decided not wear shoes for this routine, mostly out of necessity since my ankle is *bleep*ed, but I’d like to have something on my feet. I know the joke is that burlesque performers are a hardier bunch that can withstand the grottiest conditions, but I’d rather not test that theory too much! For the convention, I’ll be wearing simple ballet flats, and my focus will be on the skirt and bra. I’ll be making a hoop skirt (using this brilliant tutorialand sewing my tentacles onto the band of the skirt, attaching the length of them to the skirt by loosely tacking them to the hoops so they still move around a bit. I’ll be bedazzling the tentacles with black glossy sequins and flatback rhinestones, and attaching purple or lilac flatback pearls to the purple part of the tentacles. For the bra, I’ll also be covering it with the same black sequins and rhinestones I used on the tentacles. I’ve not decided if the underskirt should be purple or black though – what do you think? I’m also thinking about combining barefoot sandals and nude padded footsies, but since I won’t have to do that for the con I’ll discuss that another time! I also think I’ll forego wearing the corset and have the skirt connected to the bra with snap poppers. I think having the hoop width start just below my bust will give me the extra Ursula shape, so to speak! I’m excited to see how it’ll all pan out!

I’ll discuss my other cosplay in another post, but to give you a clue – dang dawg, inapprops!

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Skin care

A few months ago I kept being asked about my skin care routine, since I wear such heavy make up on stage and yet I still get ID’d! It took me a long time to realise that going to sleep with any make up on my skin was a HUGE mistake. I’d did it for years and I’m only glad I didn’t do more damage! Now, I swear by Lush skin care and I’ve found that taking the extra 10 minutes at the end of the night to remove in make up isn’t a chore, but a small ritual I take pleasure in. It means I actually look forward to it! Anyone else made this life changing but mundane discovery?

My current favourites are;
Malki Dead Sea Soap
Ultrabland (as a make up remover)
Angels On Bare Skin(every other day)
Eau RomaToner and refresher
Celestial(as a night cream)
Enzymion(as a day cream and make up primer)

I’m trying out Dark Angels too, at first I thought it was really harsh on my skin but the results are spectacular! I’ll check in again with a full review soon.

What are your skin care faves?

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*Disclaimer, Lush have never heard of me, I just love their skin care! Hair products though…. :/

Packing It Burlesque 2 – Pack Harder!

Travelling around for burlesque shows, LARP events and visiting family has taught me that I used to pack WAY too much. Streamlining my luggage was the only way to save my sanity, and packing smart meant I was huffing around less stuff I ultimately didn’t need, which is especially important when travelling on public transport. Whether planes, trains or buses, most of them have luggage limits which isn’t always helpful when you’re going from Glasgow to London with 3 acts worth of luggage, make up, shoes, props and civvie clothes! I’ve condensed what I take and when possible use other ways to transport anything I need. In this short series of posts, I’m going to discuss how I pack my essentials, from a burlesque perspective.

I hope the first part of this little series was helpful, today we’re moving on to the the biggest part of the travel – the suitcase. Again, in the cases of public transport, it’s best to check and double check the weight limit of your suitcase. A cursory look at some travel sites show the average weight allowance is up to 20kg, and you can get luggage scales from places like Home Bargains or Boots to double check before you leave. My personal suitcase has dimensions of L66xW42xD19, so that’s the size I’ll be referencing. I’m also assuming an overnight stay at the location.

Before I pack, I get all my act stuff together. I have a checklist for each act on my Google Drive (yes, I’m that nerdy!) and starting from the outside in, I piece my costumes together, minus shoes. For illustration purposes, I’ve used my Mama costume.

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Once everything is together, including props small enough to pack in, I fold it in itself as small as possible. If I have a belt in the costume, I wrap it round the folded costume, which helps keep it all together. I stuff my shoes with tights/stockings for the act, put the shoes in a plastic bag and put on top of the corresponding costume. If I can, I’ll use one pair of shoes for all acts, and some acts I have are better performed barefoot anyway! I pack the acts in from the bottom of the suitcase up, as seen below, this ensure the heavier things are at the bottom and I have space nearer the top for more fragile props and such.

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Costumes and small props in, I then pack a small laundry bag (another Poundland find!) of underwear, safety knickers for under the costume underwear, another roll of tit tape, and a regular bra or two (if you’re lucky enough to not have to wear a bra you obviously can consider not bringing one!). I pack my civvie wardrobe, usually a vest, tee shirt and skirt. I place the vest inside the tee shirt, then lay the skirt over the tee shirt and roll it up as tightly as I can. I also pack a dress to wear for curtain call and place that inside a nightie, then a dressing gown (perfect for backstage!), fold it up and add to the suitcase. By this time, the case is usually ¾ full. If I’m wearing wigs for any of the acts, I place them in wig bags and put them in last. Some of my wigs are styled and pinned so I treat them delicately! Any other delicate props, hair accessories and such go in at the very top. If they are very delicate, I wrap/stuff what I can in either a hand towel or scarves, which can double up as accessories too, obviously!

Lying the suitcase flat, I find little spaces in between things to stuff travel size hairspray, tampons (even if I’m not due!) and deodorant. I used to try and bring shower gel and such, but I’ve found it easier to pick it up from a shop when I’m there, if the hotel room doesn’t provide it.

Zipping up, I always zip it to the bottom so it’s less easy to access. I’ve never experienced it myself, but I’m always nervous of stories of people wheeling along a street and finding out the zip has been opened and a thief has tried to grab whatever is on top. If it doesn’t end up in a theft, chances are they’ve broken something. Not good! I also tie a colour ribbon onto the handle, especially handy for black suitcases, so it’s easy to spot in a sea of black suitcases! Other things to consider is a tag with your name, accommodation you’ll be staying at (under ℅), the dates you’ll be there and a contact number you’ll be using while at that particular location. If your luggage gets lost, there’s a better chance of it reaching your destination rather than being returned to the point of departure. The other side of the tag should have your home address.

Remember to weigh your suitcase once you’re done! It’s not just about the weight limit, you need to lug it around too, so make sure you’re not going to struggle. Next week I’m going to talk about the extra bits, so if you want to tell me about any information and advice you have, let me know!

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Packing it burlesque!

Travelling around for burlesque shows, LARP events and visiting family has taught me that I used to pack WAY too much. Streamlining my luggage was the only way to save my sanity, and packing smart meant I was huffing around less stuff I ultimately didn’t need, which is especially important when travelling on public transport. Whether planes, trains or buses, most of them have luggage limits which isn’t always helpful when you’re going from Glasgow to London with 3 acts worth of luggage, make up, shoes, props and civvie clothes! I’ve condensed what I take and when possible use other ways to transport anything I need. In this short series of posts, I’m going to discuss how I pack my essentials, from a burlesque perspective. First up, the carry on!

Not that kind Babs!

Not that kind Babs!

Generally my handbag will have my phone, charger, foldaway bag, hand sanitizer, gum, purse and passport in it. For travel, I try to pack it full!

I’m really particular about my make up. It’s an issue. Most of the time, I try to pack it in my carry on. I tend to go barefaced the day before and after a show to give my skin a chance to breathe, the most I’ll do is throw on some tinted moisturiser, mascara and lip balm. The bonus of that is there’s more space for the stage make up! Most importantly, pack the glitter well. We’ve all opened our bag to find glitter everywhere, and it’s not called the herpes of the craft/burlesque worlds for nothing! I use sandwich bags to pack anything loose like powder or glitter. I like using the travel or trial size products wherever possible, the best ones to look for are mascaras, cream blush and foundations.

If I’m doing different make up looks for my acts, I tend to stick to a basic base (which is easier on my skin to switch up the looks!) and use mostly lipstick and contouring to make a big difference in a small way. I sometimes change the shape of my eyebrows too. Again, it means I’m packing less. Alongside the make up, I use the wee trial pots you get in Lush and decant my cleanser (Ultrabland ftw!) and moisturiser into them. You can also get travel size bottles and tubs out of drugstores, but these are free! If I can double up the use of a product I will. My moisturiser is a decent primer, cream lipsticks are great to use as blush and I use liquid liner as a mascara, especially if I’m using false eyelashes anyway.

I put any costume jewellery I’ll be using in sandwich bags and also stick them in the carry on, and pack a small pencil case (not just for school!) filled with mini pens, a sharpie, tit tape, some business cards and a small note book. Nine times out of 10, I’ll stick a pair of nail scissors, clear nail polish (for a multitude of uses!), nail glue and a small sewing kit (grab them from the £ shop or the complementary ones in some hotels!) in that pencil case too. I roll up a pair of slipper socks so I can use them while I travel as well as when I’m backstage. Using an empty Tic Tac tub, I store bobby pins and hair bobbles and pop them in the bag. I usually pack a snack or two, a bottle of water and a sachet packet of my beloved Pukka Tea. And done!

Whew! Sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. By using different bags and cases, pretty much everything I’ll need is at my fingertips whenever I’m travelling. I’ve seen those full bag inserts with all the different compartments, but I’ve not tried them out yet. What do you think? Anything you think I’m mad for missing?

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