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Angy's Blog November -December 2008

The trials and tribulations of a fashion designer in the Lake District!

ARCHIVE: my previous entries:

OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2008 (Cumbria Life - NW Evening Mail - Glitz & Glamour Haggerston Craft Show)
OCTOBER 2008 (Woman Event - Collection on Catwalk - Radio Cumbria - Brochure Download)
SEPTEMBER - Early OCTOBER 2008 (Newcastle United Wedding Dress - Wedding Shows at Abbey House and Carlisle)
AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 2008 (Fashion Designers - Spectrum in Four Seasons Collection - Sara Gadd Millinery)
JUNE - JULY 2008 (Haute Couture - Vivienne Westwood - Wildlife - Dorset Buttons - Magna Carta)
FEBRUARY - MAY 2008 (Lake District Inspirations - Long Blondes - Wedding Show)



I would like to wish all of my customers, readers , friends and colleagues a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Ignore the doom and gloom in the media (assuming anybody still watches the news or reads the newspapers these days), and enjoy yourselves!

The big day is almost upon us. Preparations have been far more stressful than before - thanks to Felix - Christmas tree up, Christmas tree down, Christmas tree up ... you get the gist. No baubles are safe, and as for wrapping presents!!! And I dread to think about Christmas dinner ... and then he is off to my inlaws to be spoiled. Poor souls. Little do they realise what they are in for ... a hyperactive, hairy whirlwind!

Romantique Couture
1 Atkinson Court
Fell Foot
Newby Bridge
United Kingdom
LA12 8NW

T: 015395 30648
M: 07812 210880

Email: angela@


The New Year issue of CUMBRIA LIFE has just arrived - a great read as always and a stunning shot of Ullswater on the cover. As well as the usual mix of articles there is a handy year planner with events all over Cumbria and a very nice feature about the Edward Burne-Jones (William Morris) stained glass windows in the church at Brampton. Have made a note to check them out next time I am in north Cumbria. I have admired similar windows of his in other Cumbrian churches including Irton and Ponsonby in West Cumbria. They always seems so refreshing and colourful!

Meanwhile, as the CHRISTMAS EDITION of Cumbria Life is no longer on the shelves, I have prepared a copy of the article about me as a pdf file which you can now download here (click below or on the image):

Freedom of Expression - Cumbria Life - 5.2mb PDF

27 DECEMBER 2008 - Rollercoaster Queen becomes a Teenager!

I have a birthday party to go to. It's my niece - Sophie's birthday - she's thirteen! A teenager! Actually, I think she has been a teenager for a while now - discos, Hollyoaks, make-up, ... I even heard a rumour she has taken an interest in football ... Hull! Surely not ... oh so dull ... I suppose somebody has to! Anyway, she has this thing about rollercoasters. Rather her than me. I'm not so brave! We went to Blackpool with her last year - to offer moral support. But I couldn't even watch.

This year she has had another interest. She has been spending hours and hours making necklaces and bracelets from glass beads and selling them to raise money for one of the cancer charities. So far she has raised several hundred pounds. Well done Sophie! Looking forward to seeing her latest creations.

22 DECEMBER 2008 - Recycled.Outrageous.Clothes.Show.

Yesterday was the last show of the year and it was a great success. Nice to see Sirocco and Midnight Sun looking good on the runway, and of course the new recycled outfits, Winter-mere, Florence No.2 and Roudsea - a casual poncho made from old pullovers and jackets, which I sometimes wear when I go out. However, the real success of the day was the kids and volunteers who worked so hard to bring it all off. I must admit I had been concerned as to whether it was going to work to plan with so many costumes, so many people involved and apparent chaos. I'm pleased to report that my fears were unfounded though there were moments when it could have been described as organised chaos backstage. So much has gone into this event, from the initial planning stage, to fundraising, training and coaching the young people involved, creating the costumes and finally putting on the show itself.

Anyway, for all those who couldn't make it, here are a few photos to give you a taste of the colour, energy and excitement which really made the day. There will also be a feature about the show in Cumberland News and on Border TV, and there should be photos in a forthcoming issue of Carlisle Living.

Recycled costumes on display at R.O.C.S. by students from the Lakes College: includes the rather chic Newspaper Dress, a fab creation made from wickerwork and wool with a selection of weird and wonderful bugs(!), and an extravagant plastic ball gown

Goldfinger: Sarah Gadd's sister, Zoe, dancing in gold body paint! Zoe is a professional dancer and choreographer working in Newcastle. Her hat was one of many creations exhibited by Sara. The two sisters are together in the final shot. Zoe wasn't too sure how she was going to remove the paint as there were no instructions on the packet! It was already dark when she left after the show, driving off, her surreal face gleaming through the windscreen. Anybody who peered into the car would have been convinced that Martians had landed in north Cumbria!

My design demonstration - creating a gown in 15 minutes. I couldn't resist using Carlisle United shirts though getting hold of them from South Cumbria was more difficult than I had expected. Thankfully Sara came to the rescue and very kindly dropped into Brunton Park for them the day before. I hope you like the result. I might call it "See You" (C.U.). Putting it together was the easy part ... now for the couture ... something to do when the TV is off during the holidays!

A selection of the outrageous creations on the catwalk during the day - left to Right, top to bottom: 1. 'Mermaid' (Lauren) created by Lauren, Jude & Pam (Wigton Youth); 2. 'Snow Queen' (Marie) - part of the 'Winter Wonderland' collection, created in felt by Hazel Appleby (University of Cumbria); 3. 'Yellow & Black stripes (Sarah) by Jenny Tilleard (Wigton Youth); 4. 'Tie Dress & Suit' (Luke & Hayley) by Hayley Webb (Wigton Youth) - like a Ziggy Stardust duet!; 5. 'Bubble wrap' dress and an amazing newspaper parasol, designed and worn by Leonie (Wigton Youth); 6. Cream felt top (Emily), part of the 'Winter Wonderland' collection, designed by Julia Coghlan (University of Cumbria); 7. 'Smartee dress' (Marie), by Sam & Angela (Wigton Youth); 8. Recycled dress made from waste cellophane from Innovia (Pam), worn by Pam (Wigton Youth).

More catwalk pictures: 1. Selection of outfits from Bassenthwaite Reflections; 2. Finale: includes my designs 'Sirocco' and 'Apple Noddy' with creations by the young people in the background: the 'Warrior' by Tom on the left, and the 'Ziggy Stardust' duo (as I like to call them); 3. Creations by the Young People of Wigton Youth Station: 'Newspaper Dress' (Jess), 'Warrior' (Tom) and 'Buttons & Paper' (Leonie)

Romantique Couture on the Catwalk

One of three recycled outfits making their debut at R.O.C.S. Winter-mere, inspired by the winter mists over the lake (see below), is a theatrical gown created from rather heavy, Mackintosh style print curtains, and an old blue pullover. It is embellished with ivory and blue beads and is worn by Becky. The embellishments include a necklace of silk roses and craft wire, and a fascinator of ivory roses and real ivy.

FLORENCE No.2 (right)

I really like this one - a couture, cocktail dress recycled from an old red, zipped blouse and suit jackets. The dress reminds us that recycling and regeneration go hand in hand. In this case it is inspired by the industrial heritage of West Cumbria, reflecting the plight of the Florence No2 iron mine. It is worn by Marie who couldn't face wearing the accessories: a genuine miner's helmet and ore stained wellington boots, courtesy of West Cumbria Mines Research Group! I will try to organise a proper photo shoot with this dress, accessories and a model to do it justice. See below for the full story

This is only the second outing for 'Sirocco' and the first time it has been worn with a venetian mask and legwarmers. It is a cocktail dress made from a beautiful gold taffeta shot with scarlet over gathered layers of gold tulle. Emily may have been rather nervous about the limelight of appearing on the catwalk, but she did an excellent job as you can see!

For previous catwalk pictures and more information about this dress click here: Sirocco

AURORA BOREALIS - a favourite from the Spectrum in Four Seasons collection, modelled here by Carrie, Click here for more information: Aurora Borealis


A very stylish black and yellow silk evening drerss. Part of my 'Spectrum in Four Seasons' collection. Tamsin really suited this dress and here she showsoff its elegant curves perfectly. She was very professional and performed brilliantly on the catwalk.

For previous catwalk pictures and more information about this dress click here: Midnight Sun
ROUDSEA is recycled casual wear, specifically a poncho made from an old green pullover and two jackets. The earthy, autumn colours remind me of Roudsea Woods on the Leven estuary where I often go for an easy ramble. It can be worn almost anywhere and is very versatile. Today it was modelled by Emma over a top recycled from a summer dress and a 'Romatique Couture' branded recycled denim skirt which I often wear myself. The bright purple leather gloves are a reminder of my more 'daring' side!

SHADES OF GREY - no explanation required here ... the infamous Newcastle United wedding dress, this time with a Venetian mask, and worn by 'yours truly'! Still no news re the sale of the club, but at least we seem to be moving up the table. As ROCS was drawing to a close, Newcastle were celebrating a well-earned victory against Spurs. For more info about the dress check: Shade of Grey, or my press page

Last but not least, a big thank you for Sam and Sarah who co-ordnated the show and invited me along. As mentioned before, the event was a success and I will advise you of how much was raised for the Eden Valley Hospice when Sam has the final total.


Just two days to go until ROCS so if you haven't bought your tickets yet, here are the details again:

Date: Sunday, 21 December, 2008
Venue: Greenhill Hotel, A595 at Red Dial, near Wigton (www.greenhillhotel.co.uk)
Time: 14:00
Price: £ 7.00 per ticket - includes a mince pie and glass of mulled wine
Reservations: 016973 42504 / 016974 78038 / 016973 44200or from Wigton Youth Station
You can also download a pdf of the flyer here: RCOS (PDF 2.1 Mb)


I went along to a dress rehearsal yesterday and can report that some excellent creations will be on display on the catwalk. There will also be several fun surprises - I'm not going to reveal them so come along and see for yourself! In addition to the recycled outfits being created by the young people of the Youth Station, there will be designs by Hazel Appleby and Julie Coghlan, and from Bassenthwaite Reflections on the catwalk. My own designs will be worn by students and will appear on the catwalk just before the finale. Sam Massey is doing a fantastic job at co-ordinating everjthing, and there is a huge amount of dedicated work going on behind the scenes so please make an effort and come along to support the show.


Before the rehearsal we called in on Dave Banks of the West Cumbria Mines Research Group in Egremont, to pick up a few 'accessories' for 'Florence No.2' . The actual dress is now complete and looks fabulous - easily one of my best recycled creations - no photos yet ... so come and see it. Dave updated me on the story of the Florence No2 Mine. Sadly, the group had to pull out of the Heritage Centre, despite funding having been available to construct wind turbines to power the water pumps. The mine itself is now closed, and flooded, while the archives and collection of artifacts are in storage. The collection will be divided. Some may go to the Haig Colliery Mining Museum, while the remainder will go on display in public rooms in Cleator. It is heart breaking to see so much history and heritage gathering dust in a warehouse. The iron and coal industries of West Cumberland, moulded the landscape, created the towns and brought prosperity at their height. It would be criminal if this heritage was allowed to be forgotton, or anythng more was lost, so please check out the WCMRG website: www.florencemine.co.uk for updates regarding the future exhibition. You could even join or make a donation. And support the exhibition by making a visit when it opens. I will also keep you updated of progress on my Blog.

Please also lend your support by making a trip to the excellent Haig Colliery Mining Museum at Whitehaven ... another fascinating, and award-winning, tribute to the industrial heritage of the region. They also have an extensive and highly informative website:
www.haigpit.com Organisations like this really need our support to keep going. Anybody can help - it is not necessary to be an engineer or a miner. I am sure places such as Haig would also really appreciate the contributions from people with other skills: law, IT, insurance, marketing, to help them secure a future. Anybody can get involved!

I am dedicating 'Florence No2' to the iron mining heritage of West Cumbria and will use any opportunity I can to use it in raising awareness of the heritage we are in danger of losing forever and, as mentioned before, as an example of how recycling and regeneration go hand in hand!

11 DECEMBER 2008 - A Walk in the Woods

bog (bog) n. & v. 1. a. wet spongy ground. b. a stretch of such ground, 2. Brit. sl. a lavatory. [ The Concise Oxford Dictionary ]

I have a phobia, a big, BIG phobia: Bogs. And I don't mean WCs! Unfortunately I have a phobia for the type of bog that is rather common here in the Lake District, the kind of bog that interrupts my walks. Just ask my husband Mike - he seems to be attracted to them!

It was our wedding anniversary this week. Normally, we try to escape to somewhere unusual for a couple of days. Last year we stayed in a lighthouse. However, this year we decided to stay at home, have a meal out at the pub, and go for a long walk.

It was a lovely walk. The sky was blue, the air was blue, and we had warmed up first with a very nice cup of coffee and a toastie in Hawkshead beforehand. I had my woolly herdwick hat and my gloves, and was ready to attack a mountain ... well, perhaps not quite a mountain. Mike insisted it was more of a gentle stroll but it was too entertaining to be a stroll. It was like watching Michael Jackson 'moondancing' as he slipped and slid on the ice. Three times he fell ... or at least, that is how many times I saw him fall! Now I ask you, when you see ice everywhere, wouldn't you try to be a bit more careful, and avoid being distracted from where you put your feet? Even if the view is stunning? Well not my boy! You could walk easily where the sun was on the path but there was ice and frozen snow wherever the path was in the shade. If, like my hubby, you didn't take care, your bum would meet the terra firma with a bump before you could say ... well I'm not going to repeat some of the things he said. At least there was no need to call Casualty - just a couple of minor scrapes and bruises, and his dented ego!

View over Wise Een Tarn to the Langdale & Coniston Fells
It was a lovely walk, even though I feel as if my feet are the other way round this morning! It was worth every minute despite the aches and pains - it shows that I have been neglecting my exercise over the last few months.

We climbed steeply through the woods above the Ferry Landing to Claife Heights, a very pretty place at any time of the year. We wanted to reach Three Dubs Tarn but Mike had left the map at home. 'Don't worry, I think I know the way,' - how many times have I heard that one? I should have known better, but I was too busy enjoying the fresh air and the nature, and feeling creative. I felt glad to be alive. We found a muddy forest track, and when we scrambled out of a conifer wood to arrive beside a hidden, frozen tarn, the alarm bells still hadn't started to ring. The old stone boathouse was half submerged beneath the ice, and the surface of the lake was level with the top of the dam.

"There should be a path on the other side," Mike said, as he ventured out along the narrow, slippy wall of the dam. There was no way I was risking that, especially the frosted plank over the stream in middle. So he lead me down the bank, under the trees ... and then the alarm bells began to ring loudly as my foot sank into the soft ground by the stream. I should have known. We always end up in a bog ... and when we do I know we are either lost, or relying on Mike's sense of direction! I hate, hate, hate BOGS! I hate wet patches with grass, or wet moss or any other wet soft vegetation. If the ground is not solid I begin to panic ... the adrenaline rushes to the fore and I begin to sweat. You see, Mike and I have different views of what constitutes a bog - in Mike's case it isn't a bog unless you sink up to your neck - in my case, as soon as the ground moves, I expect to sink up to my neck!

In the end I managed to jump over the stream only to be lead through another bog - albeit a frozen one - to eventually reach the track that leads down past the other tarns to Far Sawrey. The views over the frozen water to the snowy peaks were spectacular, and for a moment, as the sun began to set, I nearly forgot about my latest bog adventure

So, a final word of warning, when your husband, partner or friend, says 'Don't worry, I think I know the way,' start worrying!

Photos, Left to Right, Top to Bottom:
Larch Forest; Esthwaite Water & Langdale Fells;
Claife Heights; Boathouse at Three Dubs Tarn
Sunset over Moss Eccles Tarn; Winter sky


Here is a quick update about R.O.C.S. on 21 December.
You can also download a pdf of the flyer here: RCOS (PDF 2.1 Mb)

Date: Sunday, 21 December, 2008
Venue: Greenhill Hotel, A595 at Red Dial, near Wigton (www.greenhillhotel.co.uk)
Time: 14:00
Price: £ 7.00 per ticket - includes a mince pie and glass of mulled wine
Reservations: 016973 42504 / 016974 78038 / 016973 44200 or from Wigton Youth Station


Wigton R.O.C.S. is an eye-opening event featuring an ecectic mixture of creative garments
in a theatrical catwalk show.
There will also be festive stalls for last minute stocking fillers,
an impressive raffle and exhibits to admire.

Jewellery by
Michael King, Raspberry Rooms in Caldbeck

The work produced for ROCS by the young people, through the Wigton Youth Station, will be showcased within one section of the the catwalk show. Other sections of the catwalk will feature work by students from school, college and university, and also local artists, designers, stylists and organisations.

Provisional Programme

Show opens with live music and dancers

1st Section: hats, hair, masks & make-up;
ncludes work by Sara Gadd, Claire Nash (stylist), Barbara Mitchell, Lana Brown, and make-up artist Kate Reid. All of them are preparing outrageous looks for the show.

2nd Section: Recycled Work by Young People Wigton Youth Station and Northern Fells Group

Interval: Festive refreshments
Exhibits, including work from a project by arts students at the Lakes College.
Festive shopping stalls.
Angy to create an extraordinary gown on stage in 15 minutes! (that's me .... oops!)

3rd Section: Outrageous Work by students, artists, stylists, etc.
Includes Julie Coghlan, Hazel Appleby, Andrea Nixon, Emma Wigginton, Jude Stoll, Hayley Webb, Delphine Cadarn ... and me! I am considering exhibiting four of my 'Spectrum' creations plus four recycled outfits, including the infamous Newcastle United Wedding Dress.

4th Section: Finale - the show will go out with a bang!

The Tithebarn, Midtown,
Caldbeck, Cumbria CA7 8EA

Tel. 016974 78038
Email: raspberryrooms@yahoo.co.uk

So my input will be a demo on stage - creating an 'extraordinary' gown in 15 minutes ... though it could be 20 or ... all depends on whether the audience distract me! Anyway, believe me, this will be interesting - enough said Angy! Also will have up to 8 outfits on the catwalk. Four selected from the 'Spectrum in Four Seasons' Collection, and four recycled costumes: the Newcastle wedding gown, 'Winter-mere' , 'Roudsea' and 'Florence No.2' ... latter is coming on well and can certainly be described as outrageous!

But, to find out more you will have to come along ... so get on the phone, reserve a ticket, support a worthy cause for Christmas and
add your support to all these kids who have put so much effort into what is going to be a fab, festive event!!!


Who? What? A mine? Florence No.2 is (was?) the last deep working iron ore mine in Europe, and the last of a once thriving industry in West Cumbria, in particular in the region from Kelton Fell to Cleator and Egremont, and at Millom, with further isolated mines inmountain areas like Eskdale. West Cumbria was very much the domain of the 'Red Men', the iron miners, named after the red colour which permeated their clothes and skin, especially in the days before pit baths. Most of the industry had declined by the end of the 1st World War, but enclaves of industry remained until the Beckermet Ore Mine closed in 1980. The Florence No.2 at Egremont was reopened to extract high quality ore on small scale from the old Ullcoats Mine (tunnels were often connected - they reckon it is like the catacombs under Egremont), and subsequently became a fascinating heritage centre. I had the privilege of visiting the Florence, and taking a trip down into the mine with a group a couple of years ago (note: me looking rather worried complete with appropriate headgear on the right!).

So, what has all this to do with fashion design or dress-making? Well, I was looking for inspiration for another recycled dress when I remembered the Florence. I had already prepared the materials - a bright red blouse with zips, a couple of mens' suit jackets, buttons and odds and ends (photographed above prior to my starting work). I was already thinking along the lines of red and iron and mines, and grey for the darkness of the mines, when I began to compare the concept or recycling with regeneration. We are all used to the concept of building new housing on brownfield sites, of old mills and warehouses being turned into swanky apartments or art studios and, around here, the inevitable barn conversions. However, my trip over to West Cumbria last week reminded me of the lasting legacy of industry in the area. The yellow winding wheels of the Florence No2 guard over the Egremont bypass as a constant reminder ... in this case, as a monument to a rich industrial heritage, and to show that something can be used again for its original purpose or as a tourist attraction. The Honister Slate mines are the same, and the Haig Pit at Whitehaven which is high on my list of places to visit next year. Whether as tourist attractions, or as buildings reused for other, modern purposes, the regeneration of old buildings also saves our resources - it is just recycling on a bigger scale.

So, to celebrate the regeneration of old industry, I will call this recycled dress Florence No.2. I have already started it and am very pleased with my progress - this is very much an 'haute couture' creation, an outrageous fantasy perfect for the catwalk. I plan to have it ready, together with 'Winter-mere' and another recycled creation called 'Roudsea' for ROCS.

There is a rather sad footnote to this entry ... when I decided on 'Florence No2' I checked their website to check a few details. It appears that the West Cumbria Mines Research Group have closed the Florence Heritage Centre and are now looking for a new site. The main reason was the cost of continually pumping water from the workings (I remember the pumps and a terrific amount of water down there when I visited) which was in the order of £ 2000.00 per week. There is a suggestion that mining may still be going on and also another that the mine may be used as a storage site by Sellafield. Ir's not clear. I will therefore dedicate this dress to 'Florence No2' and hope that the Heritage Centre finds a new site very soon, and that whatever happens to mine it is not completely forgotten or abandoned.


Does anybody out there know how to manage an almost teenaged cat, to avoid the need to redecorate from time to time? I certainly have no idea, If I did know, I wouldn't have to repaint the living room wall.

It happened yesterday. First there was Felix, my cat, of just over six months old, almost a teenager in cat years. Then there was the coal bucket. Do I need to go on? Well, one of us had gone down to the living room for something. Ten seconds perhaps. No more. Door open. Door closed.

A few minutes later Jack, our other, older and much wiser, cat started mewing and poking me while I was working. He was trying to tell me something. I thought nothing of it ... usually he will lead you to his bowl (but he had just eaten some biscuits) or to the closed bedroom door (out of bounds during the day ... just like the living room). Mistake, big mistake! I can't remember which came first - the realisation that Felix wasn't with us or the crash from the living room! I rushed downstairs, opened the living room door and something very black shot past me!

What a thoughtful little moggie. Not only had he rearranged the coal in the coal bucket, but he had attempted to sweep the chimney, and had left trails of black paw prints all over the hearth, the rug and up the wall. When I caught up with him, he gingerly touched his paw with his tongue, then looked up at me as if to say 'Do something!'


Winter has arrived ... the windows are steamed up when I wake up, my breath condenses in the cold air when I open Mike's office door, the trees and bushes are like brittle, white skeletons until the sun gets up, and the cobbles in the courtyards are encased in glistening ice. There is even snow on the fells. I wonder how long it will last? I wandered down to Fell Foot park this afternoon, not too long before sunset. I couldn't resist it ... the light and mist outide was very atmospheric, even enchanting. It was so strange having the park to myself as I wandered along the Windermere shoreline with my camera. In the summer it is crowded with visitors with picnics, and children playing n the water. Not today ... brrrrr! I hope you like my pics. The water was so still with a mist formimg over the surface, while the distant snow-covered fellls were glowing blood red as the sun began to set.

I also needed to think over a few designs that had been wizzing round my head after the ROCS meeting last Monday. The huge expanse of still water reminded me that I have always wanted to create a dress with an enormous train, but it is difficult to be so extravagant with expensive fabrics. However, when recycling you can afford to take more risks and be more creative. There is no shortage of possibilities. The cold grey steel colour of the lake and the soft pastel shades of the winter sky were those of some curtains I had stored away for another day. They are huge ... a bit heavy perhaps but I am sure I can do something with them. They have a lovely Mackintosh style pattern ... also appropropriate with so much Arts & Crafts influence in the architecture around the lake. And I have an old cornflower blue top which would match the patterns, and Mike has an old blue shirt with some nice buttons. Time to start diggng! I'll call this new creation 'Winter-mere'! The design I have in mind has a nice wintery feel to it - just right for the festive show on the 21st!

Windermere and the River Leven from Fell Foot Park


Nice trip up to north Cumbria yesterday. Called in at Crosby's as usual then on to Maryport as we had time to ikill. What a pleasant surprise. Light was fading so have already made a note to go back and see it properly as it is such a fascinating place with its historic harbour and views over the Solway. Scotland seemed just a stone's throw away. The old town is built on a hill so there is always light at the end of the steep streets (like a miniature San Francisco). There is even a delightful Georgian square (Fleming Square), as well as the Senhouse Roman Museum (had seen that on one of the 'Coast' programmes on TV) and a new arts and heritage complex called 'The Wave'. Did you know that Fletcher Christian (Mutiny on the Bounty) and the founder of the White Star Line (of Titanic fame) came from Maryport? I didn't either. I also didn't know that it was such a big place on the Blues scene - I have heard about the annual summer music festival but hadn't realised it was so big - the UK's premier Blues event which last for three days. Chuck Berry performed there last year, and Jools Holland. In previous years it has seen Van Morrison, Elkie Brooks and even Dione Warwick! Sometimes you just don't realise how much there is on your own doorstep. Found this link with some nice pics: www.visitcumbria.com Also an official site: www.gomaryport.co.uk

Harbour mouth at Maryport, with the Solway
Sorry, I should have been talking about Wigton, because that was we were going - for a R.O.C.S. Meeting (Recycled Outrageous Clothes Show) at the Wigton Youth Station. Wigton is somewhere else I knew nothing about. Mike had talked about the connection with Melvyn Bragg and knew of it from descriptions in his novels. Otherwise it was just a name beside the long straight (Roman) road from Maryport to Carlisle. It seems a pleasant enough market town, though it is very dfficult to judge a place when is dark and everywhere has already closed. I missed the memorial fountain with its Pre-Raphaelite bronzes, but I did see the curious Highmoor Belltower - an eerie silhouette in the dusk.

Wigton was in the news a few years ago for all the wrong reasons - antisocial behaviour and vandalism leading to the first nighttime youth curfew in the UK. It was therefore nice to see the work being dome at the Youth Station. What a fab place and so popular with the kids. I loved the mural in the entrance area - a kind of mosaic picture map of Wigton. The place was buzzing with all kinds of activities going on, and even a computer room. Walls were brightly painted and decoraterd by the kids who seem to have taken ownership over the centre which depends partly on volunteers to run it every evening. From what little I saw of the project, it is real success story. Certainly R.O.C.S. is a great opportunity for them to show what they can achieve.

The ROCS meeting was organised by Sam Massey who quickly ran through the agenda. The show itself will be a festive celebration of creativity, inspired by recycling and all things a little outrageous. Had a taste of the latter as somebody had brought along a skirt made from strips of cellophane film - scraps from a local factory. Very garish - would need a relatively plain top to set it off best! Sounds like some of the other designs the kids are producing will also be very exciting - the nice thing will be to see their creativity and imagination on a catwalk. The organisation is very professional. Workshops have been been provided for the young people involved, thanks to funding from the Neighbourhood Forum and the Prince's Trust. These have enabled them to learn new skills and to create the outrageous costumes for the event. They have worked very hard on these using the facilities of the Youth Station to create their own collections. They are also responsible for the direction of the event - theme, venue, music - and for choosing the Eden Valley Hospice as a charity to support with teh event.

There will also be work from design students on display, hair stylists and make-up artists, hats from Sara Gadd, and masks. The catwalk will be quite extensive and will form a central theme to the day ... looking forward to seeing the wedding dress made from newspapers. In addition there will be a wide variety of stalls, refreshments, exhibits and a raffle. The ticket price will also include mulled wine and mince pies.

I offered my services with the catwalk and agreed to take a couple of designs with me to the show. I was originally concerned about using valuable haute couture designs on inexperienced models but the professionalism and enthusiasm shown by Sam, and her team, has changed my mind. Was also reassured when I learned that Zoe Gadd (Sara's sister) will be doing the choreography ... have heard great things about work she does connected to theatre in Newcastle. I have even managed to get myself roped into doing a fashion design demo - 20 mins or so to come up with a design and produce an initial costume design on a mannekin! Oops! Gave it some thought on the way home and have come up with a novel idea ... but that will be a surprise!

After the meeting we went along to the Greenhill Hotel, which stands in attractive grounds beside the A595. Very smart country hotel with a new conference, function room. Small stage to one side and a large central area ideal for the catwalk. Will look good with Christmas decorations - all we need is some snow for a real festive atmosphere to the event!

My previous Posts:

OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2008 (Cumbria Life - Glitz & Glamour Haggerston Cradt Show)

OCTOBER 2008 (Woman Event - Catwalk Photos - Radio Cumbria - Brochure Download)

(Newcastle United Wedding Dress - Wedding Shows)

AUGUST - SEPT. 2008 (Fashion Designers - Spectrum Collection - Sara Gadd)

JUNE - JULY 2008
(Haute Couture - Vivienne Westwood - Dorset Buttons - Magna Carta)

(Lake District Inspirations - Long Blondes - Wedding Show)
Angy's Blog is written by Angela Morton, Fashion Designer & Dressmaker
Photographs copyright of Mike and Angela Morton

Copyright Romantique Couture 2008