If there’s one thing I love (except lemons and glitter, of course) it’s fairies. I’ve loved fairies for as long as I remember. I remember taking a sample of my new fairy wallpaper to show my year one class. My favourite childhood film was Fairy Tale. Until she died, my grandma bought me fairy ornaments which I’ll someday display in my own home. For my high school animal themed night out, I was a butterfly which is basically a fairy in disguise (my wings were so wide I had to walk through doors sideways).
At Glastonbury festival I discovered Fairylove, who have been spreading the love and magic since 1992 as makers of bespoke wings and accessories.
Their “fairy army” typically wear wings, nipple pasties and glitter, which I’m convinced is the best. look. ever.
Wings and not wearing clothes, my other favourite things! What could better represent festival freedom?
We’re midway through summer season and I still can’t decide what to order in preparation for events like Festival N0.6. I’ve definitely got my eye on these high waisted hot pants though, which are made of ‘sequins, beads and love’:
Certain products are at the pricier end of the scale, ranging from £12.50 to £120. I’m torn between pastel options and these, which are £65:
And the fantasy wear doesn’t stop at fairies. How cool are these mythical ram horns?
And how cute are these bumper stickers?
Here’s a roundup of my favourite fairy looks. Don’t forget to tell me about your unusual costume ideas for festival season in the comments!
To create your own magic visit Fairylove’s Etsy page, or find inspiration on Facebook. PS, Fairylove: can I be part of the love army 2017, pretty please with glitter on top?
Now in its fifth year, the Alternative & Burlesque Fair is the UK’s largest touring alternative shopping & entertainment event. Promising up to 70 exhibitors selling everything from vintage to steampunk fashion, the Grade II listed 02 Ritz provided a glamorous backdrop for this performer’s Mecca. I was on on mission to be inspired, spend too much money and see plenty of breasts.
Compère Liberty Pink hosted a full programme of entertainments ranging from twisted cabaret to aerial acts providing shoppers with an hourly reprieve as the lights were dimmed.
I was surprised by the pole dancing and a particularly graceful, ballet-like routine. Burlesque performers included the fabulous Raven Noir, who I met as an extra on Hollyoaks. I was so taken by her confidence that I decided then and there to share my solo idea, and I can’t wait to tell her how my first performance goes in June!
On the subject of burlesque, Verity Grey had the greatest, jiggliest bum I’ve ever seen. At £6 a ticket the entertainment by itself was brilliant value and I felt privileged to watch such respected names in burlesque. On top of that, guests had access to countless independent businesses you often can’t just walk into a store and browse.
When I’d seen enough beautiful naked women, vintage themed dining was provided by Lil’s Parlour which was reasonable at £2.50 for a really special slice of cake so I could eat my feelings and sob.
In terms of exhibitors, the event was a little lacking in products geared towards burlesque; I saw few fabulous pasties, showgirl eyelashes or anything much beyond corsets. I also would have liked to see more rockabilly clothing because there’s not enough Vaseline in the world to slip me into fetishwear.
However, I had a fabulous, enlightening day. Here’s a round up of things to catch my eye.
Nicola Hebson has a deep respect and appreciation for nature, preserving the beauty in things which otherwise would be discarded or left to rot. Her pieces celebrate the loveliness to be found in the great outdoors, and capture the spirit of the great English woodlands.
All specimens seen in her work have died of natural causes or are victims of roadkill accidents, giving them a new lease of life and creating curious one of a kind works of art in the form of jewellery and ethical taxidermy.
Past commissions have included menstrual blood, unmusical cord, kidney stone and a lover’s hair encapsulated into a pendant.
My pal was appalled, but I personally have a real soft spot for stuffed animals, and not the teddy bear kind. Here are some cute taxidermy pieces…
Whilst others are incorporated into headpieces…
And here is the pièce de résistance, yours for £55. Fascinated, I returned several times throughout the day to convince myself I definitely didn’t need half a dead rat. I think Nicola and I could be friends.
Another interesting brand is Nippleicious, offering piercing-free jewellery for your nips. Run by a vivacious eastern European named Sveta who will insist on demonstrating how to attach the jewellery to your pinkie, there are hundreds of really lovely designs available and I particularly like this piece – so many TITanic puns!
I thought I was pretty clued up on kinky stuff, but basically I was wrong. I didn’t even get the names of some exhibitors because I was flustered and trying hard not to look like I was looking, but I couldn’t ignore The Bondage Man:
‘Awh, candles! I might buy one for Mum!’
…wait, what’s alternative about candles? The Bondage Man helpfully provided photos of how to keep the flame alive with your lover. I am a great fan of UV so this wax would provide a cracking photoshoot if I wasn’t a giant chicken.
It took a while to figure out what this was, and the more I saw it the more I wanted it:
Here are some ultra trashy stripper heels and Taylor Momsen rocking a similar design:
Brooches may no longer be cool but under lights, costume jewellery and accessories are really something. Although this piece by C J Accessories in particular caught my eye, I was after something red for an upcoming performance because I’m not domesticated and can’t sew. I settled on puckered lips for some simple, elegant decoration.
Of everything I saw, it’s this bespoke showgirl costume by performer and designer Daisy Cutter that really stole the show. It’s a shame the whole set isn’t visible, although you can spot it in the background of Raven Noir’s photo. The colours lilac, baby blue and mint are just dreamy and reminiscent of the dress Carrie wore for her junior prom in The Carrie Diaries.
I also got my hands on this gorgeous kimono (£20) by Madams Pinups, a brand I’ve previously written about. My fat bum and lack of ironing skills don’t do it justice, but my pal liked it so much she bought her own then and there.
On a vintage sale rail I found a sequinned crop for just £5 – buzzing! And to blow my last tenner after sprinting to a cash point, an apron I will definitely never wear. Should have bought the raccoon butt plug/feather duster.
And finally, feeling guilty for leaving the boyfriend at home I brought him back a very adult bondage colouring book (£5). However, I hear he’s also keen on the apron…
I came across Madams Pinups last week at the North Wales burlesque festival.
Selling clothing, homeware and accessories, what makes this brand special is that all this gorgeous pin up and burlesque art is painted and then hand printed by artist Melanie Adams.
And if Tempest Storm isn’t your cup of tea, Melanie also offers watercolour portrait commissions for performers, pinups or anyone needing more glamour in their life. They can be used for personal or promotional use, costing between £120 – £155 which come with a free personalised robe, so you can literally walk around with your own face on it.
Although the art is great, it’s what Melanie does with it that really caught my eye. This showgirl tie would be a cracking Valentine’s gift! And at just £8 you can afford to buy one for every ex boyfriend and the boy you used to stalk.
And don’t even get me started on these Bottom of my Heart cufflinks, £10:
If you just want to treat yourself the clothes are just lovely, although photos don’t do them justice because assistant Norma needs to eat some cake. I’m still kicking myself for not buying a kimono (only £20!), and also had my eye on a pencil skirt.
And if you know a man who’ll be lonely this Valentine’s, Dita will gladly give him a hand… putting a TV dinner in the microwave.
If you’re after a card for your pinup queen, here’s the official 2016 Valentine’s design. I would even buy it for myself to put it in a frame.
And here’s something that gives new meaning to adult colouring. For 50p you can download and print an un-watermarked A3 copy of her artwork, and although I usually think colouring books for grown-ups are silly this is a really nice idea.
Not quite brave enough to try burlesque? Steal another’s identity! Burlesque costumes are so creative and glamorous, I’d have a lot of fun designing my own without even learning to sew.
Note: copyright belongs to Melanie Adams so don’t rob the design and pass it off as your own or she’ll stab you with a stiletto.
Frustrated by too many nights standing beside the Missus whilst she touted her wares and being forced to watch lovely ladies dance in crystals and feathers (yeah right!) the Prof decided he wanted in on the act. Unable to paint and unwilling to dance the dance of an ecdysiast, he went back to his roots as a chemist and decided to develop a line of cosmetics for the Madams Pinups brand.
A plan began to brew for products that were just a little bit different and that would compliment the products we already had. After a few weeks of being treated like a very pouty guinea pig, Madam approved some luscious lip balms and we were ready to roll. The infamous jelly soaps soon followed in various incarnations and Professor Pinups was garnering his very own following.
Ah, the jelly soaps available as boobs or brains, that lifelong question. The bath crystals poured from science beakers test tubes that change colour when coming in contact with water are also pretty snazzy and a great gift for a nerd/young human.
I really love how this couple harnesses their talents to the best of their ability and comes together to create one special brand. I’ve just learned they’ll be at tomorrow’s Alternative & Burlesque Fair in Manchester. See you both there!
I love Tink’s accessories so much, they deserves a post all of their own. But first, can we take a moment to appreciate how she she co-ordinates her hair, eyebrows AND glasses?
Right. Back to business.
Fed up of not being able to find quirky accessories in her local area, she began making them for herself and now creates custom accessories for aspiring pin-up girls, ranging from garters to shoe bows – and they’re faaahhbulous.
She made me this tattoo heart necklace displaying my favourite Welsh lyric (‘Honest heart, pure heart’), which serves as a great talking point so I can gently inform English people that WALES IS A REAL COUNTRY DAMNIT.
However, the vinyl record bag is arguably her trademark creation and was my most prized possession until someone recently stepped on it at a party, and even though it’s cracked I can’t bring myself to chuck it. It seems to match everything and brings a really special finishing touch to swing dresses. No to mention EVERYBODY thinks you’re the bees knees despite not being quite sure how to use a record player.
There’s a humongous range of fabrics available, although I personally went for the black and white musical note print because it’s so versatile; realistically, Disney Princesses will only match my nipple tassels.
Although the record you’re given is random (does Justin Bieber sell vinyls? Baah!) you’re welcome to post Tink a particular vinyl, or even your own shoe!
And while we’re on the subject of bags, how ridiculous if this Grumpy Cat tote?
Not only extremely talented, Tink genuinely cares for her customers and was recently reduced to floods of tears on learning a pair of child’s boots had been made for a daughter’s funeral.
She also firmly believes in braving the bullies and celebrating your size no matter what, which makes me like her even more. Good thing you can’t outgrow a handbag because my Christmas pudding thighs are going nowhere soon…