Some like it hot

The heat was on. Not only was I playing a part in the musical Blitz!, but also I was running a stall at the Chilli Fiesta.

I’m involved in amateur dramatics in my spare time, and scooped the part of Mrs Josephs in Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society’s production (pictured below). It meant I had two big events in the same week.


We moved into the theatre on the Sunday. Rehearsals followed every evening until we opened on the Wednesday. On Friday I was up at six to set up my stall for the Chilli Fiesta at West Dean Gardens, Chichester (pictured above).

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this annual event is a big draw for devoted chilli fans. I’ve been part of it for the past four years with my shop Mia Bella Casa. Appearances by Brendan Cole from Strictly Come Dancing and Dragons’ Den champion Levi Roots turned up the heat.

The weather was glorious. I was next door to L’ailOlive, who make amazing gyozas with chilli sauce. I lived on these Chinese dumplings for the next three days. My stall’s special feature was chilli earrings. They became one of the hottest items.


I’m not sure what folk thought of me, but I was looking even more vintage than usual! I had to have 1940s hair for the musical, but knew I wouldn’t be able to do that and get on stage on time. So I decided to sleep with my locks in victory rolls!

On the last day, I saw the fabulous Steel Strum on the stage. This dynamic duo have played outside Mia Bella Casa. One of the musicians is the son of the owner of Café Oasis near our shop.

It took me ages to cool down from a hot and hectic week. I loved every minute. More events are coming up to Christmas. Oh no, it’s not panto season, is it? Oh yes, it is!

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