Monday, 5 June 2017

The Acoustic Festival - A Very British Weekend




It's that time of year again...the great British festival season. Driving down bumpy country lanes pushing back the avalanche of vintage clothes threatening to engulf us every time we go over a pot hole....wearing glitter at breakfast, cracking up a can of beer before 11 am, queuing politely for the loo, rubbing shoulders with stockbrokers, chartered accountants, check-out assistants, weekend hippies, new age travellers, full-time fairies and school teachers and dancing barefoot in the rain to bands you last heard 30 years ago.


This weekend took us to the Acoustic Festival of Britain in Uttoxeter, an hour's drive across the border into neighbouring Staffordshire. Attracting a loyal following from all over the UK with a wildly eclectic line-up of 1960s legends, 1980s pop stars, folk singers, skiffle bands, candidates from the Monster Raving Loony Party and stand-up comics, Morris dancers, storytellers, circus acts, ice cream vans, pie stalls and pig roasts, fairground rides and with fortune tellers, weavers, silversmiths, instrument makers and ironmongers plying their trades you couldn't get a more traditionally British weekend.

A sad sign of the times was the heightened security, with festival goers being subject to stringent searches on the way into both the arena and the campsite. Everybody understood, nobody complained and, after getting word of the horrific attack that took place in London on Saturday night, you do start to wonder, where next?




We left home at 10am on Thursday and, just over six hours later, we were set up and open for business. Considering it had been nine months since our last festival we'd done pretty well, only forgetting the nail kit, a towel and our fruit. 

Friday.......




A day of sunshine and showers, mostly spent dashing outside to drag our rails of clothes back inside.


Jon's wearing a charity shopped Turnbull & Asser shirt with a vintage wool waistcoat and some 1960s Farahs. I'm wearing a rainbow striped, pom-pom trimmed off-the-shoulder crop top I made the day before we left with 1970s brushed denim maxi skirt and a stack of plastic bangles.








In Britain the rain never stops play.





The Acoustic Festival wouldn't be complete without a performance by some of the local Morris Dancers. This lot are Black Dog Molly from Stoke-on-Trent.



Saturday....


I wore a batik maxi made in Lagos in the early 1960s (a present from Curtise) which I'd pimped-up with fringing cut off an old beach towel with a choker I made from a scrap of 1960s lurex braid and the buckle off an ill-fitting 1960s bikini and my psychedelic plastic peace sign earrings. Jon's wearing some 1960s charity shop wool trousers he skinnied up himself (he was too cold in his Levis' Panatellas), a posh designer shirt a mate gave him and vintage braces he nicked from the shop.


I painted rainbows on my eyelids while Jon cooked Glamorgan sausages (Caerphilly cheese, leek & potato) for breakfast.


Several belly dancing troupes performed impromptu dance offs. 


Tribal Vs Traditional, apparently.


One of the things we love about festivals are the trade-offs between stallholders. Last year we charged phones in exchange for Reiki treatments and home-made fudge, this year we part-exchanged a Harris Tweed jacket for two wood-fired vegetarian pizzas which we promptly shared with a neighbour in exchange for some real ale.





Meeting up with Brian, the fudge man and soon-to-be-wed Sean & Vicky are Acoustic Festival highlights for us.



Sunday.....



Started off with glorious sunshine and factor 50 sun cream and got progressively colder...Jon caved in and put his boots on and I donned my yeti coat.


I'm wearing a top I made from a vintage silk scarf (a present from Lynn) trimmed with Walsall market pom-poms, a 1970s Prova psychedelic skirt, a Lamani gypsy coin belt (from Goa), charity shop sunglasses and pom pom earrings and metallic choker (both made by me). Jon's in a chazza shop Clash tee shirt, a vintage Austin Reed waistcoat & 1960s Farahs, a 1960s cord trilby donated by a friend and some charity-shopped Doc Martens.


Acts included 1980s pop act Howard Jones, Ed "Swords of a Thousand Men" Tudor, Fairport Convention and all manner of eclectic acts from a skiffle band who'd just flown in from Vegas, Latino sounds from the Swan Vesta Social Club, the wildly eccentric John Otway, The Bar Stewards of Val Doonican and a Beautiful South covers band.


My favourites were Liverpool soul band, The Christians, who I'd loved in the 1980s and had forgotten all about. Garry's still got it.

Alan (originally from Walsall) makes incredible pewter jewellery and was trading at the festival for the first time. I treated myself to a couple of his bangles. How ace is his pimped-up tailcoat?

Sales-wise, after three years we know that we'll never make a fortune trading at the Acoustic Festival but it's close to home, the pitch prices are fair and we always have a good time.  Life's not all about the money (but the profits will be more than enough to fund our trip to Corfu in a fortnight's time).


These gorgeous girls bought a vintage boned, red and black striped Moulin Rouge style corset from us to surprise a sixth friend who didn't have one.


The chap who bought our 1980s Hugo Boss wool blazer had his face painted blue to match and told us that although he didn't give a shit about what people thought of what he wore he was quite touched by the number of strangers who'd complimented him on his Kinky Melon purchase.....the vintage Hawaiian maxi went to the lead singer from headliners, Lost Tuesday Society from Cardiff who decided to wear it for the rest of the weekend and our job lot of vintage '70s deadstock white cotton broderie anglaise camisoles were a big hit with the younger festival goers.

Photo pinched off my friend Sean's Facebook page

We had intended to stay over on Sunday night but the lure of our own bed proved too much and we joined the majority of the other traders in packing up, waving each other off and heading home. The cats were delighted to see us.

Now for the fun bit, unpacking the van in the torrential rain or I might just have another cup of tea and think about it....

See you soon!


81 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a blast! Love those little tops you made! :)

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    1. We did, thanks Laurie! I've included a link to the tutorial I used to make those tops in today's blog. xxx

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  2. That furry jacket at the bottom!!!!!!! Luv it all <3

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    1. So glad I found that beauty! xxx

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  3. Fudge! Pizza! Music! Belly Dancers!! Sounds heavenly. I absolutely adore your twin buns...it almost makes me want to grow my hair longer to do this (but then it keeps getting caught in car doors, and hooked on buttons). I love your clothes!!! How ingenious (and frugal) to pimp up that dress with fringe from a towel!!!

    I love seeing your inventive, frugal, beautiful outfits (and pitch!).

    happy thrifting ;)

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    1. Thank you! I've got lazy with my festival hair in previous years, I'm going back to my crazy roots! xxx

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  4. The couple sitting next to the teardrop camper looked very steampunk! Looks like a fun time! I wish I was there!

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    1. That caravan was so cool, it had a bar built in! x

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  5. Love it. There's something so utterly British about this festie and you can't beat it. You look fabulous and like you had a ball. Loves me a bit of barking John Ottway and I haven't seen the Men They Couldn't Hang in ages.
    Loves ya!
    xxxxx

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    1. John Ottway is bloody mad, love him!
      Festivals really are the best of British, one of the things we do really well.
      Love you right back! xxx

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  6. I am definitely going to this next year. I only live four miles up the road from it but going this year would have been a bit too much having just lost my sister and not yet having had the funeral.
    I just love all of yours and Jon's clothes.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. I really feel for you, Sheila, waiting for a funeral is such a horrible time, you're just in limbo.
      You must come next year, we met some lovely people who lived locally and there's so much to see and do. I think Ruby would love the storytelling. xxx

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  7. The Christians! I remember them, might have to dig out my dusty box of CDs and have a listen.
    This has made me hanker after Latitude tickets, I might manage one day this year, but I'm hoping for the full weekend.
    Loving your pom pom crop tops!

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    1. Whatever happened to The Christians? They were so good (and still are!)
      I always enjoy your Latitude posts. I do hope you get there this year even if it's just for the day. xxx

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  8. Oh it looks like so much fun! You and Jon are always the best dressed vintage traders, but some of the festival goers have great style too. Loving those corsets! I agree, it's not always about huge profits, it's the music, the people and the vibe that brings such joy.
    I'd forgotten all about that orange and pink dress, it looks fab with the added fringing!
    As I was scrolling through your pics, I just spotted someone I know - the cool young man playing double base in Dead Man's Uke is called Jake, he and his dad Tim (ukelele player) are good friends of Andrew's. I spent some time at a party discussing vintage clothing and style with Jake, he rocks his suits!
    It's pissed it down here for most of the day - I say leave the stock in the van and crack open the rum... Love you! xxxx

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    1. I can't believe you know Jake. He was in the shop for ages trying stuff on and looking brilliant in all of it. Their band was excellent and luckily for us we were right opposite the Big Top tent where they performed, what a small world!
      I'm bloody glad we're not trading this weekend, it's horrible.
      Love you!!!! xxx

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  9. I so enjoy your festival photos. Glad you didn't have torrential rain, it would have substantially reduced the fun factor. Wales is practically under water today!! I might have another go at one of those off the shoulder tops, you look fab in yours! X

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    1. Perfect timing, I'd hate to have had to put up the Gala tent if we'd been trading this week. Hasn't the weather been abysmal? I think poor Wales has had it the worst of it! xxx

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  10. Fairport Convention, Morris dancers, and Kinky Melon trading ace vintage-THAT'S my idea of a great festival. Great photos. I'm glad it went well for you first time out for the season.

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    1. It was proper good fun and it didn't even rain all that much! xxx

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  11. you both had some great outfits and your tiny 24 inch waist looked perfect with the denim skirt - looking fabulous as always! looks like it was loads of fun being there.

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    1. Thanks, Betty! I've had that skirt for years, I'm thrilled that it fits again now! xxx

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  12. So glad you had a profitable festival - and a fun time by the look of it!

    Jon always looks so dapper and smart and you look lovely as always. I love your pretty home made tops with pom poms, especially.It was also great to see some rolls of belly fat on display for a change (i.e. the belly dancers) - real women!

    The woman who bought the Hawaiian maxi dress looked fab in it.

    Hope the next festival is as good...

    Have a great week

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    1. Thanks, Veronica! We didn't come home millionaires (far from it!) but had an absolute blast.
      Those belly dancers look great, don't they? One of them once told me that it's the perfect hobby for a newly single woman as no man is required. Proper empowering!
      xxx

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  13. It looks fun! I haven't ever been to a festival, must be in the minority!

    I met Ed Tudor Pole once, I was surprised by how short he was! I also saw Tenpole Tudor twice.

    I love your you made tops, very pretty xxx

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    1. Every year I chat to people who're attending festivals for the first time, it's great as they're often people in their 60s and 70s. Its never too late!
      I didn't know Ed was a shortie. I know we share birthdays, maybe its something to do with being born on 6th December! xxx

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  14. That looks like a fun festival, whatever the weather. Morris dancers! Fairport Convention! Oh, and I remember the Christians, although I'd completely forgotten about them too. I move your pom-pom tops, and Curtise's maxi is stunning! xxx

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    1. I think this year's weather was the best for the Acoustic festival since we started trading there. the first year was so cold at night I went to bed in my coat and hat! xxx

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  15. This sounds brilliant and the kind of quirky that I like! I love your trading tales! What great fun to swap!! I love your attire and particularly Jon's brown boots he wore with the Farahs (which are tHe trousers I presume???). Your hairy coat always makes me smile! I might have to borrow it to cosplay Jo Grant from 70's Doctor Who!!
    I'm glad you had fun and I guess the benefit of trading is you get to hear the music and soak up the atmosphere whilst trading (I presume? Maybe you're so busy and far off from the stage that that isn't possible??)
    Hope all is well!!x

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    1. Farahs are trousers (ask your Dad!!)
      We're usually pretty near the main stage, we can see it from the rails at the front which is brilliant if it's raining!
      You're very welcome to borrow that coat (or superimpose your face on a photo of my coat wearing body!) xxx

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  16. A profitable festival is a good one weather it rains or not.
    Hard work made with you tastes of almonds, according to a Spanish proverbe (liberal translation, hahhaha)
    The summer is set here for good, but very kind so far, just 27 degrees centigrade and then the temp drops at night so we can sleep. Fingers crossed it wont get fierce too soon.

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    1. I like that saying!!
      27 degrees!!! It's so cold her this week we've had to light the fire. I went out in gloves on Tuesday!!! xxx

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  17. I liked the Christians and haven't heard of them for years either.
    I love the way you adapted your dress to the changing weather throughout the day and still managed to look great, I usually set out with the best of intentions and end up in someone else's cagoule!
    I don't envy you unpacking the van in the rain, where's the summer gone? It's blowing a gale here as I write. xxx

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    1. When I'm packing I start with the coat, hat, gloves and boots and work around them. A weekend camping in the UK requires more changes of clothes than a month in India!!
      Isn't it horrid? I'm rather relieved that we're not trading this weekend. xxx

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  18. I'm glad the weather was mostly OK for you! You look fab in all of your outfits, it looks like a fun weekend! Festivals never really appealed to me before but seeing your write ups over the years is making me reconsider!

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    1. Thank you!! You ought to dip into a festival one Summer, some are miles better than others. xxx

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  19. It looks like your first festival of the year was a hit. It all looks like great fun. You won't believe this the Fudge Factory is five minutes away from us. We passed it on our way to Todmorden when you were here.
    That's a great pic of you and Jon and you look gorgeous in the converted scarf. Hope all your fests are as good as this one.
    Chucked it down all day here so I've fiffed and faffed about all day.
    Couldn't believe we say Jane Hamilton trading at a country fest yesterday in Cumbria. She won best dressed vintage person along with her lovely greyhound. Xxx

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    1. We were chatting to Brian the fudge man about staying with you and he told us that the factory was practically down the road from you! isn't it a small world?
      Yay! Glad Jane and the whippet won best dressed! xxx

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  20. With the steampunks and ATS belly dancers I could have sworn this was one of my blog posts. Can I be your groupie?!?! I swear if I lived there I would follow Kinky Melon everywhere! You guys have the BEST freaking festivals.

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    1. You'd have loved it - it was like one of your posts minus the sunshine! xxx

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  21. You guys make fun wherever you go it seems.

    I love how you guys swap amongst yourselves.

    You two are always fabulously dressed.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Festival traders are a happy little community! We're always doing trade off for food and beer between ourselves, if only real life was the same! xxx

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  22. Happy new season!!! I love the rainbows - both on your crop top and your eyes! Gorgeous outfits, as always, on you and Jon! Much love!

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  23. Now I have a craving for Fudge. Coffee is on

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    1. Mmmmm..fudge! I didn't have any this year but it's really good. x

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  24. Looks like a fun time! With your coin belt you could join in the belly dancing.
    The rainbow eyeshadow is cool!

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    1. Thanks, Bobbi! I'd love to belly dance but I know I'd be hopeless! xxx

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  25. Looks like you had fun, Vix, thanks for sharing! Xxx

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jess! x

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  26. That your clothing is clean means it can be worn straight away. Some 'vintage' stuff stinks to high heaven!

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    1. Never trust a vintage trader that doesn't wear vintage, they just don't get it! Quite a few traders buy wholesale unseen from abroad, unwrap it and hang it up. You can usually spot that kind of seller a mile off, their stuff is full of creases and most of the labels are foreign. xxx

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  27. How fun!
    I used to love festivals like this in my native California. I envy your yeti-coat wearing weather, we're broiling up here in Nepal!
    xox

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    1. Festivals are the best! I'd love to go to one in Cali! Oh please send us some heat, it's so cold here I've had to turn the heating on! xxx

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  28. What a colorful and interesting post , Who needs sunshine with so much colour on your stall and all the people at the festival look to be having a great time regardless , Loving the fudge stall ,I wonder if he does mail order , I am always looking for quality fudge as gifts for my daughter as she loves it xxx

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    1. Thanks, Shabby! We try to pack our rails with even more colour than usual, people really come out of their shells at festivals and try clothes they'd never usually wear! xxx

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  29. That looks lovely - you really do convey the fun of festivals. It looks like everyone had an ace time. It's the sort of thing that just makes you feel positive about the world, which everyone could do with right now.

    (Don't talk to me about Swords of a Thousand Men. Someone on my terrace is a musician, and hauls his amp out into the garden when he has a party. Which would be fine, because he doesn't go into unsociable hours, but he REALLY likes that song and it gets a bit much!)

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    1. It's a cracking little festival. I'm looking forward to Towersey this year, it's the first time we've traded there and it looks quite similar, low key with lots of arty bits.
      I hadn't heard Swords of a Thousand Men for years, I can imagine it'd drive you daft. xxx

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  30. As always, it is interesting to read about your festival journeys. All those colourful guys...the belly dancers are amazing! Love your rainbow eye make-up!

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  31. Fabulous! You and Jon look great in every photo. I would LOVE to be there. I have always wanted to visit Britain. And Scotland. And Ireland. Sigh. Maybe someday. I love your eye shadow and all the clothes. I bet the music was fun. Sounds like a great time. xoxo Lynn

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    1. It was a fab weekend, Lynn. us Brits know how to have fun whatever the weather. xxx

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  32. such a colorful report from a colorful weekend!
    love your rainbow eyeshadow! and how cool is that wild mix of people and music at the acoustic festival!
    will you show the bangles you bought from alan of the cool tailcoat? :-)
    xxxxx

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    1. Thanks, Beate! The bangles make a brief appearance on today's blog. I need to find out if he has a website, I know you'd love his style. xxx

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  33. What a fun post! I also love that rainbow eyeshadow, you did it brilliantly and I am very impressed with those eyelashes. You have mentioned using false ones all the time but I had no idea of how well you put them on, it can't be easy. JanF

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    1. Thanks, Jan! I'm a dab hand at the eyelashes now, I can put them on without using a mirror! xxx

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  34. This festival looks mad. As usual you look gorgeous in your pom-pommed crop top and Curtise's maxi especially and your eye shadow artistry is superb! Xx

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    1. Thanks, Fiona! I'm feeling rather smug, finally accomplishing eyeshadow shading after 50 years! xxx

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  35. This festival looks mad. As usual you look gorgeous in your pom-pommed crop top and Curtise's maxi especially and your eye shadow artistry is superb! Xx

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  36. What a wonderful time we had joining in at your fair. You both looked so gorgeous that I felt guilty you were feeling the cold. It's winter here now so we had the joy of being warm inside. I don't blame you going home Sunday night. I bet it was wonderful to be back in your own bed again. You work sooooo hard you are to be very admired. xxx

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    1. That's the downside with trading at festivals in the UK, it gets so cold at night! It wasn't as bad as it has been in previous years but the thought of a lovely warm bed, cats and central heating was too tempting to stay another night! xxx

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  37. Those girls in corsets look fabulous, as do your rainbow eyelids! If we let rain stop play we'd never do anything!! xx

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    1. Exactly! Just beer up and get on with it!
      Don't those girls look great? I hope their mate loved the corset they treated her to. xxx

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  38. I'd like to go to one of those traditional British Festivals just once - I recognized a number of the musical performers, and I like that people dress up. The skies looked pretty menacing, but I'm glad it didn't turn into a giant storm. You did a splendid job on your rainbow eye makeup.

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    1. We were so lucky with the weather, it's been horrible ever since we got back. Torrential rain and good trading don't go well together. xxx

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  40. Wow, that looks like such a lot of fun. I love your skirts & tops but the winner of the weekend is definitely that maxi dress. Talking of maxi dresses, I am drooling over that Hawaiian one. Pity about the weather. It has been a bit rubbish this year. We have the heating back on. Love the rainbow eyelids. Xx

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! Curtise has great taste, hasn't she? xxx

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  41. What a FAB post, Vix! I love the photos of the colourful festival goers, it looks a great time was had by all - and so wonderful to see Kinky's sales being worn around the site. Your rainbow eyeshadow is beautiful...wishing you a prosperous, happy summer of festivals and fairs - and Greece is coming up very soon! xx

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! The skies may be grey but the festivals are always filled with colour and joy. xxx

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