Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A Duvet Day & The Taming of Ginger Alan


My mum used to tell me that back in the 1960s if a girl fancied a new dress she'd buy some fabric & a dressmaking pattern and run something up on a Saturday afternoon to wear to go out that night. Nifty seamstress or not, if you wanted something badly enough you just knuckled down and got on with it. No posting endless wish lists on the internet, no credit card debt and, best of all, no chance of bumping into another girl wearing the same frock.


Which is exactly what I did today. I had an urge for something different to wear, a free morning and a new-to-me Maudella pattern.


The envelope claimed to be a quick sew and it was, completed in two hours and costing less than a quid to make. The 1970s jumble sale duvet cover was already in my fabric stash, the zip salvaged from a tatty old dress destined for the rag bag and the hooks & eyes and thread donated by a friend. 

Barry M Cyan nail paint - day four and still chip-free.

Meet Ginger Alan.


This young & tatty tom cat first appeared one evening in July, staring up at the house and howling plaintively. A proper feral feline, he ran off every time we went near so, in the end, we put out a bowl of food and a dish of biscuits and let him get on with it.


Since then he's returned daily, gradually allowing us to get closer. A fortnight ago he allowed me to stroke him and last week it was Jon's turn. He chats to us, raises his tail in greeting and is partial to a bit of fuss.


We tried shouting various names at him but Alan is the only one he responds to. What is it they say about dogs having owners and cats staff? We're already in his employ.

Duvet dress worn with leather and wood platforms (50p, car boot sale), 1970s Madeira basket (£1.95, Acorns Hospice), Original 1970s Polarised sunglasses (£8, Moseley Vintage & Retro Fair), silver jewellery (India)
Mad cat lady? Mad cat couple, more like.

See you soon!

79 comments:

  1. Great job on the dress and good job with the new kitty---seems like he'll be settled in comfy in no time!

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  2. A great dress ! And i do love crazy cat people !
    xxx

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  3. I was born in 1956 in a country far from yours but my Mum and yours had the same reasoning, I remember in the 1970's making maxi skirts and neru collared jumpsuits to wear on a monday morning, I still choose to make my own, even with one wonky eye, lol,,, you made wonderful use of that fabric, it looks lovely on you! Looks to me like Allan has come home,,,,he probably thinks he won the lottery with you two looking after him,

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  4. I love the frock and Alan looks a sweetheart x

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  5. Great job on the dress - and purple too! x

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  6. That's a fab frock, it really suits you and the fabric is so pretty, almost too good for a duvet! Love the taming of ginger Alan story, sounds like a play!

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  7. Fabulous Frock, and I just have a mental image of you and Jon shouting "Alan! Alan!" in the manner of that clip that did the rounds of the internet a few years ago. Glad he's found someone lovely to take care of him though

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  8. Alan is gorgeous, but I'm a sucker for a ginger

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  9. Wowza, nice job on the keyhole maxi! Lovely fabric on you too.
    I've always had a thing for orange kitties for some reason. I had a long time distant relationship with a feral male years ago. He would only sit outside the kitchen window on a ledge if I was the only one in the kitchen. Poor little thing had chewed up ears too. Eventually he stopped showing up because I probably tried to pet him too soon.

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  10. I love the slinky new dress! You knocked that up in no time, clever thing.
    Ginger Alan is a sweetie. We had a ginger tom coming here every weekend but the boys saw him off. He was always in a bit of a state too. I hope my boys had nothing to do with that! xxx

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  11. Love the dress and the cat is gorgeous, i bet Alan will be by your fire in the winter xxx

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  12. Bang on, love. Maudella perfection and it looks fab on you. I'm all over Maudella patterns just now. I keep finding them. I can remember sewing a frock or a top or whatever with my grans help for the local disco when I was a kid. Luckily she had a massive pattern and fabric stash to hand.
    Alan is a sweetie. I love ginger mogs. He has you to well trained.
    'Alan. Alan. Alan.'
    xxxxx

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  13. Ooh, a delight of a duvet dress! Great Maudella pattern, and of course I admire your motivation and get-on-and-do-it attitude; I could do with some of that myself, I am the Queen of Procrastination. (Though in my defence, I have cracked on with Ebaying and clearing out the kids' rooms, which is kinda like painting the Forth Bridge...)
    Ginger Alan! It may not be the coolest name, but hey, if he's responding to it, then Alan it is. And isn't he handsome? When he's finally in the house (and neutered) he will be a gogeous addition to the family. You and Jon are crazy cat folks indeed!
    Love you! xxx

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  14. What a lovely dress dear Vix! You look super, so slinky and tall! I love that idea of running up the dress for a night about- wish I could just get on and do something about sewing wish! x

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  15. Most of my childhood cats were assimilated into the family by the method of feeding strays into the garden. Oh and my Mum working in at a vets...x

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  16. Hi there! Wow your dress is just amazing it's a great cut and love how quickly you made it! Alan is a proper cutie too! xx

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  17. Aren't you the most adorable crazy cat couple though? :) You are fast with your sewing skills - wow! It looks gorgeous on you, with these platforms and your mix of rings. Love the glasses too! And yep, cats are the most irresistible employers for sure - we work for them for freeeee! :)))

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  18. For a minute there I thought you'd spent the day in bed. I'd have been a bit alarmed if that had been the case. Happily, you are not indisposed AND you have a brand new frock for your collection. It's a great colour on you, that lovely lilac and I can't think of a better use for a couple of hours. That makes absolute sense, what your mum said. Loads of vintage finds are handmade. Ginger Alan, what a corker of a name and what a lovely old pushkin he is too. Gingers are my favourite beasts. Guess you have a new member of the KM team! Xxxxxxxx

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  19. I'm not much of a cat lady, but Alan is very cute. That dress looks like 2 hours well spent to me xx

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  20. Wow momma! This is your colour! Stunning! Especially with your black Elvira hair.

    Love all the silver and the blue on the hands and nails.

    I'm amazed you were able to put this together in 2 hours. You should be called, "Get It Done Vix". I have a feeling that is exactly how you are.


    bisous
    Suzanne

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  21. Wow, your dress is excellent. You are so good. I also really like the look of your hands with the blue varnish and rings.

    And, of course, I love handsome Alan. When Nick and I first met he came complete with a ginger boy named Johnson, who became ours for the first few years we were together. Well, I should say he was an 'old guy' and not a boy at all and he has since died peacefully of old age. But we think and talk about him all the time, and have both been left with a soft spot for ginger cats. They're so cute!

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  22. I'm pretty certain that the only one who could boss you around would be a feral cat. Love the lavender frock. Another Vix success. Your mom was right. Every single one of my high school dresses came straight from House of Fabric and my Grandma's sewing machine. Keep on a'stitchin'!!

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  23. You look beautiful, as always. I love your duvet dress, and Ginger Alan is a proper cutie xx

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  24. I adore that dress, does it have a zipper? You kinda make me sick banging this out in 2 hours, it would take me that long to just get started. The soft purples are so pretty and with those shoes, dang girl, sexy! Alan that cat responds to Alan and he loves you too. Who wouldn't you are the sweetest couple, feeding him and petting him and inviting him in. That cat knows just how good he has it! I see him wearing a vintage top hat soon:)
    Yes speak tomorrow please! LOVE YOU!!!!
    XXXOOOOO

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  25. You are a lovely mad cat couple! And your frock is amazing, I wish I would have the ability to sew, but I'm not a needle lady at all!

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  26. My old textiles teacher had a similar story, how she'd go down the market for fabric on a Saturday morning, make a dress in the afternoon, and then always go out dancing in a brand new dress. It's a lovely way to be I think. That's a truly wonderful dress you made, the colours are lovely and I like the collar. You look really beautiful in it.

    Alan is a great name for a cat!

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  27. The dress is just gorgeous, and I'm amazed it only took a couple of hours to make!

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  28. Such a fancy seamstress you are, Vix. And you look lovely in shades of purple. We have 2 cats the same color, both from the local shelter originally. Orange (ginger) cats are supposed to have the best dispositions. Seems so.

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  29. I love your ginger cat, so cute! I'm glad he is warming up to you! And great work on the dress, I wish I was such a fast sewer! :)

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  30. Wow, that dress looks great! You are inspiring. Cats definitely have staff, he shall have you catering to him inside soon enough.

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  31. Oh sweetie Ginger! I mean Alan (how proper). He is indeed your boss now, lucky you. Love your whipped-up dress, it's really a great silhouette and you look yummy. xox

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  32. Love the new frock and all the bangles... and Ginger Alan is so Handsome, how couldn't you fall totally in Love and be on his Staff!?

    Dawn... The Bohemian

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  33. It really does sound so idealistic, girls being able to just whip up a dress for their Saturday night. I just love what you've made here, it's gorgeous and fits you so beautiful. Ginger Alan sure is a cute kitty. Shouting different names at him sounds exactly my boy and I when we took in our stray last year.

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  34. Wow, I have kitty and jewelry envy. I love an orange boy cat and lots of bling -- yours are sure swell.

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  35. Wow, I have kitty and jewelry envy. I love an orange boy cat and lots of bling -- yours are sure swell.

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  36. Alan is a charmer - I can see why you both fell for him.
    Two hours to make a dress. WOW. That's brilliant. I love the design and the duvet fabric is perfect for it. Two main pieces in the pattern, hm. I like the sound of that, but it might as well be 2,000.

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  37. Duvet dress, how fabulous!! I always enjoy your curtain couture and then you go use a duvet! The best part about sewing is getting something that no one else will have and the way you up cycle fabric the chances are way better at being original. Gorgeous cat, he will be inside by winter.

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  38. I was sure you were going to tell me of a relaxing day under the duvet, like mine today! But no, it's more amazing creations to make me feel slack! ;-) Lovely colour on you. Enjoy your cat waiting! Xo JJ

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  39. Mad cat people are my favourite type of people :0)
    xx

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  40. Very cute post Vix. I really like your dress. That ginger cat is so cute! I work with a couple just like you and Jon. They are partners, but not married, no kids,but have his and hers cats at home. They are a crazy cat couple as well! I can appreciate that, its their kids. :-)

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  41. I still think Ginger Alan needs a surname.

    Love the frock. My mum made me a ball gown for my sixth form ball so I knew I'd be unique. Something special about wearing something no-one else has.

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  42. you are amazing and so is your jewellery stash...I tried my hand at DIY, but failed so miserably..this dress is divine on you.

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  43. Beautiful dress! How cool is that to be able to make it in just two hours! Love your bangles! And the cat is such a beauty and with character.

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  44. My grandmother would make dresses for my mom and my three aunts. If they saw something in a store window that caught their eye, my grandmother would create one similiar to what they had seen at the store. She didn't use a pattern to often, but she was taught to sew free hand when she was growing up.

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  45. Soooo clever Vix , beautiful dress and colour and lets not forget your bag , love it.
    Darling cat stole the blog post Lol,Best wishes Vix.

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  46. Alan is so sweet! What an achievement that he'll now let you get so close. Love the dress, I am not a very talented seamstress but it's my aim to get better! XX

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  47. Great dress Vix! If I want something new to wear for a certain event I usually make it now. I love nothing better than making something new to wear on a Saturday afternoon x

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  48. I LOVE the taming of a stray/feral feline :) Makes the heart SING.

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  49. That lovely dress calls for silver bangles in abundance -- and who better than you to show us how to display them with a proper manicure! The Barry M product is an open secret, but how do you clean the jewelry you wear every day?

    A warm welcome to Ginger Allan! May he flourish as did Gus, my own orange marmelade companion for nearly 20 years.

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  50. Oh yes, buying pattern and fabric in the morning and wearing the dress to a party in the evening. We just knew how to do it and the patterns fit me in those days. Now with my size 14 shoulders, 18 bust, 14 waist and 12 hips it's just too complicated to be arsed!

    Alan, a great cat who chose you from all those other potential benefactors. Congratulations!

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  51. Lovely colour that maxi frock ,well done ! and some cute new feline friend , reminds me of my two cats , when they appeared out of the blue years ago !
    ~Purring kisses~

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  52. The dress looks gorgeous! I would totally wear this.
    - Mia

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  53. Funnily enough I was talking about this very subject with my mum today - about how women used to assume that a new outfit meant buying the material and then making it themselves. It also explains the often idiosyncratic fit of many home/handmade vintage clothes that were made properly to fit the actual shape of the individual.
    Dead impressed you knocked up this beauty in 2 hours. It takes me that long just to pin and cut out the pattern! Great fabric - an addition to your curtain couture: designer duvet dressing.

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  54. cute cat!! he knows where it´s good live :-)

    the dress is a beauty - even more because made by you! i have big jewelry envy. you have such beautiful pieces!

    xxxxx

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  55. Bleeding gorgeous frockage and Alan is no fool is he?

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  56. How clever of you to knock out a dress so frugally. You remind me of Scarlett O'Hara knocking up a dress out of velvet curtains (I like your dress better though!).

    Lovely kitty, I hope he comes inside for winter.

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  57. Four of my favourite things on one blog! Purple dress, cat, Vix and Jon! Not that any but the dress is actually a thing. Alan the Ginger Tom is darling and looks quite happy with the staff he has hired. Sophie sends him a nose to nose sniff. Cats are much more refined than dogs and do not sniff bums.
    xoxo

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  58. mwahaha, you're always bright and wise, dear lady, and love your attitude!, I feel encouraged to stay sewing my 'not perfect' dresses with cheap fabric and enjoy them!
    Your floral dress looks fabulous and love particularly your silver bijouterie!!, and that nail color is pretty!!
    So cute ginger feline, cats make our lifes way more interesting!!
    besos

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  59. Alan is such a handsome boy! and he picked his name too! ahhh, I'm with you on the cat love, I have just tucked the 2 kitties in their night fleece blanket on the couch, they are flat out now!
    Your dress is blooming gorgeous, I love the neckline and the pattern is awesome, I have to say 'hello' to your bag, I've oooohed all over it, it's divine! x x x

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  60. well i've never sewn a dress before but i used to be able to whip up a new bikini in about an hours time. all it took was a tiny bit of fabric so it was dirt cheap to do. love your dress, adore your new cat, he looks just like one we adopted many years ago and we named him Thomas. he was such a great cat. x

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  61. So good to see you Vix on blogger again. I have indeed been away far too long and would like to see more of your posts and be less on facebook, it's not as good as the old blog.
    Anyway, Wow! The dress is great. I come from a family of dressmakers and tailors, so I understand what you are saying about making a dress for fun!
    My grandfather and mother used to make my school skirts and summer dresses, I remember the 70's patterns really well.
    What can I say about Ginger Alan, Just gorgeous!
    You are now a cat slave like me! ;-)

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  62. There seems to be a cat theme in the blogosphere this week. Good job taming Allan. He's one lucky cat! I assume a neuter is next on the list for him. Love the dress too!

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  63. That's amazing, two hours and one pound?! I love the colour on you actually, it's very pretty. x

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  64. I love the colour of your dress and all the accessories, as always. You've got some adorable photos of this cute cat too - lovely post. - Tasha xxx

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  65. Such a splendid dress. Well doen Vix. xx
    /Madison

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  66. I love your dress - we all need a duvet day sometimes.

    Lizzie's Daily Blog

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  67. Your dressmaking skills must be of legendary status by now. The dress you made from the 70s duvet cover using the Maudella patterns turned out looking fabulous. Your Barry M. Cyan nail paint looks perfect and that's a lovely selection of rings and bracelets you're wearing. I suspect that, due to the fondness you and Jon have shown for cats, there will be more mad cat couple posts, conceivably with even more cats in your blogging future, even if it's just a cat (or cats) managing to photo-bomb some outfit photos.

    http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/

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  68. this look is amazing, the pattern is awesome. i love your sunglasses and all the rings are amazing!! xx sylvie

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  69. Hahaha, I had to stop myself from trying to whip up a frock for the coming evening, as I would go rip,shit and bust and invariably feck something up, then have a tanty!!!
    It;s a gloriarse frock, love the design, love the fabric, love the price and your mad skills!
    Darling Ginger Alan! I long for a cat to come and adopt us, but Peepers must scare all prospects off. I had high hopes for Blackie Lawless, a lovely black fella in the hood, but haven't seen him recently. Mad cat ladies are OK by me. I've been one for years!
    Love Helga XXX

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  70. How sickening that you can run up some groovetastic frockage in two hours!! Hardly surprising tho as I've said before, I reckon you could do anything you set your mind to. Ginger Alan is a beaut and obviously not daft. xxxx

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  71. you look wonderful in purple ... wow, with the black hair! just great.
    ...aaaaah, this is called a madeira bag ... i just found one in one of hour storage boxes and i love it. mine might be a little smaller ...

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  72. Haha, I had to stop myself from trying to whip up a frock for the coming evening, as I would go rip,shit and bust and invariably feck something up, then have a tanty!!!
    It;s a gloriarse frock, love the design, love the fabric, love the price and your mad skills!
    Darling Ginger Alan! I long for a cat to come and adopt us, but Peepers must scare all prospects off. I had high hopes for Blackie Lawless, a lovely black fella in the hood, but haven't seen him recently. Mad cat ladies are OK by me. I've been one for years!
    Love Helga XXX

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  73. you get better with every project! This one is sweet and so is the cat. Surprised that he's "home"? Who didn't see that coming.

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  74. I must learn to live by your example Vix! Sew the bloody things up in one day instead of farting around! Superb job on the frock and welcomes to your kitty overlord... Whoops I mean neighbour!
    Alan suits him very much!

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  75. Fabulous dress you make sewing look so easy :-) Ahh so glad puss is getting tamer amazing what a bit of patience and gentle manor can do :-) He knows where he is loved now, dee xx

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  76. First up "swoon" I am love with your sunglasses in the first pic and secondly - yah for Maudella patterns. They are amazing and don't have a million complex pieces that make me want to cry. This frock looks amazing on you - I love that you made it in a maxi, I really need to get on the maxi band wagon. Oh and I love wee ginger Alan - I'm glad he's found loving "staff" in you guys xoxox

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  77. Loving your dress Vix, it looks absolutely gorgeous!!

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Love from Vix
xxx