My Miracle Beauty Product

Now normally this kind of thing tends to be some kind of moisturiser or toner – something skin or anti ageing related. Whilst I do suffer from oily skin and blemishes, I haven’t managed to find my perfect treatment yet, and I’m not really a fan of putting too much onto your skin anyway. But, there is something I have discovered that I now feel I cannot live without – and believe it or not, it’s just a nail base coat.


Ok, so it still is to do with anti-ageing in theory – but both my mum and myself suffer terribly from ridged nails. When my mum was younger, she apparently had gorgeous, strong healthy nails, but then due to a health issue they began to weaken and break because of these ridges which were forming. Everyone has their beauty must have, the thing which is really important for them to maintain to keep feeling and looking good for themselves, and for my mum it was her nails. Luckily, she is in the position to be able to afford false nails and maintain them regularly – the fact that these are well known to be the last thing to be given up in a time of crisis is neither here nor there 😉


Myself on the other hand, didn’t quite have that luxury. Growing up – yes, I admit it – I was a biter. We tried everything, gloves at night, painting the awful tasting stuff onto the nails that was available at one point, nothing seemed to work. I even remember one time when I was young my mum telling me how important nice looking nails were, that when I got a job in a shop perhaps one day, how awful it would look if I was serving customers with nails bitten down to the quick – she even demonstrated using my Tinky-Winky Teletubby toy. None of it worked, and so eventually I also found myself in a position where I could just about afford false nails for myself, and I was over the moon.

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It was a tricky start, working out what length and shape suited me best, whilst also struggling with the fact that my hubby wasn’t in the least bit convinced of my long nails. I couldn’t see how he thought my (to me) disgusting bitten nails could possibly be better than my false nails, but my lovely hubby is all about looking natural. However, he could see how important it was to me that I had nice nails, and I wasn’t able to overcome my biting habit, so grew to accept them. I was loving being able to finally buy all kinds of nail varnish, quickly discovering a favourite in Essie – no surprise as that was what my nail technician used. I loved all the bright colours, and the fun names of too – Bachelorette Bash, Bahama Mama, Lapiz of Luxury to name but a fraction of the wide range available.

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But, my nail technician then went off to have a baby (which is great for her of course!) and in months following, I began to see how nice it was not to have to spend £15-£30 every month maintaing my nails. I was hoping that after about a year and a half with false nails meaning I wasn’t able to bite, I had kicked the habit – no such luck. As soon as the false nails came off, my ridges started splitting and I was back to being a biter. I was so upset, especially as I really felt  that my nails were ruining my ever developing vintage look, not to mention the money I had potential wasted on nail varnished that weren’t getting used. I tried stick on nails for special occasions, I tried painting my tiny short nails hoping that I wouldn’t bite them if they started looking nice – I was back to square one.


That was until I was despondently browsing through Essie’s range one day, and looked a little closer at their nail care range. They offered basic base coats, but there were also bases which offered intensive care in various forms. It made me think about what the problem with my nails really was – and whilst I don’t have ageing nails, I most certainly have severe ridges that need filling in, so I thought I would try my luck with fill the gap. I was absolutely staggered by the instant result – I wondered at first if it was more of a nail strengthener designed to slowly pad out nails like many others available, but this literally filled in the ridges of your nails, meaning that when you paint over the colour varnish the ridges had vanished! Not only that but the strength it gives nails is amazing – in the couple of months I’ve been using this I have only had one minor split. Yes, I have to keep on top of looking after my nails just to be sure – I re-do them every few days, pushing back the cuticles and file away any sharp edges as soon as I can – but that’s probably what I should have been doing anyway!


I am so thrilled that I discovered this miracle product – because Dave is right and the natural nails do look so much better, but now they look pretty and healthy and I can play with so many different colours and ideas I’ve been dying to give a go!


The good old hole punch saver trick needs a little more practice, but not bad for a first go I think! And I’ve always wanted to give matte black nails a go! I love it!


So if anyone out there is suffering from the same troubles as me, I would without a doubt recommend this miracle beauty product. It is so worth it – thank Essie for giving me back some confidence!


The Vintage Housewife x

Every year at Shoreham Airport……..

The Shoreham Airshow is coming up in a couple of weeks, unfortunately I won’t be around to see it but here’s a little taste from my mum’s blog of what to expect if you’re in the area! This year you can expect to see double as we have both our own Lancaster and the newest addition to the Lancaster fleet across the world from Canada! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see two Lancasters flying together, if you can make it to any of the shows in the UK it will be so worth it!

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they hold an Airshow. We have lived locally since I was a child so I have always been able to watch the planes from our garden. The best shots though are taken from the path along the River Adur.

Lancaster Bomber

This Lancaster Bomber flew so low down the river valley that you could see the pilot in the cockpit.


It really is something else seeing and hearing this massive machine roaring through the sky overhead. This year the Airshow has the Canadian Avro Lancaster, there are only 2 Lancasters left now and both will be in the UK this year. Maybe I will take another walk along the river and see what pictures I can get,

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Bucket List No. 2 – Hardknott Pass

So then came hubby’s turn – this is one he’s been looking to do for a while, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine his bucket list item with a sneaky and much needed mini break. Hardknott Pass is the steepest road in Britain, and the little adventurer that he is, Dave wanted to give it a go on the bike. He had heard about it on various bike forums, but after hearing about an attempt my family made on the road (and failed) he was even more set. So, when a change in plans presented itself as a perfect opportunity, we booked a few nights in the Lake District.


Now seems as good a time as any to say we made the trip on a new bike – unfortunately Tigs the orange BMW was stolen from us at the beginning of the year 😦 It was utterly heartbreaking, and still is and always will be – any biker can tell you it really is like losing a member of the family. Whilst we are now joined by Rogue, the white Kawasaki Versys, Tigs will forever hold a place in our hearts and we hope she exploded on the b******s that nicked her. She was that sort of bike 🙂

Tigs took us on some wonderful adventures, she will be sorely missed :(

Tigs took us on some wonderful adventures, she will be sorely missed 😦

Meet Rogue, the newest member of the Rhodes family! Rogue Trip!

Meet Rogue, the newest member of the Rhodes family! Rogue Trip!

Having said that, as much as we love Tigs, Rogue is without a doubt much better two-up. The comfort from my point of view is staggering, not only in the seat but also riding position, as well as the bike feeling so much more stable, it really aids endurance. As such, the 300+ mile run up to the Lake District was an absolute breeze. It helps we have been commuting together on the bike regularly, now we work at the same place, but it was really exciting to be able to do so many miles without struggling at all. It was more enjoyable too, as I was able to take in more of the scenery, and as we pushed further into the Lake District, that was something I was very grateful of. I’d only ever been the once, and it wasn’t exactly a trip full of fond memories, so it was lovely to be able to see the spectacular part of the country with fresh eyes.



We stayed at a gorgeous B&B just south of Windermere, and as we explored we were surprised at how relatively small the area is. We made it pretty much from one side to the other and back again in a day (east – west – east) whilst stopping off on the way. We were very adventurous and took a ferry across Lake Windermere, all of £1.60 for us and Rogue. I’m afraid I’m coming across another of those moments where words can’t describe just how beautiful this place was – looking at Windermere you are somewhat confused between a gorgeous sunny harbour somewhere abroad, and moody Romantic mountains of Scotland. Or just remember you’re in the Lake District…


After some gorgeous twisting roads, we neared our destination of Hardknott pass. As previously mentioned, I had been part of an attempt with my family when I was younger (in that I sat in the back of the car) which failed – our car didn’t have the power to make it up the steep incline, so poor Dad had to do a gazillion point turn on the very narrow bit of road with a fairly sheer drop to one side. As you can imagine, I was a little nervous about our attempt, even on the bike. We drew closer to the pass, and I began to recognise the way – particularly the pub where we stopped and recovered for an hour or so (the car too) and eventually the spot where the poor thing clapped out. The worst part was – we hadn’t even reached Hardknott Pass yet! This was Wrynose Pass, the one before! Eek!


Luckily the bike more than held its own up the steep road, squeezing through gaps where cars would have to wait, and using its incredible power to weight ratio to make light work of Wrynose. It was pretty hairy sitting on the back, I was clinging on for grim death, but the top of the pass yielded views that were without a doubt worth the white knuckles. We paused to take some photos, and then carried on towards Hardknott. Here we were met with not only a steeper gradient, but also very tight switchbacks and hairpins that I wouldn’t take a car up if you paid me. Dave counted 8 in quick succession, but I was focusing more on my breathing at that point. From all accounts, he had a fantastic time conquering the pass, but I was more looking forward to the reason for the pass in the first place – Hardknott Fort.


Not long after my family’s botched attempt, my Nan and Grandad who were on holiday with us came up from the other side. They weren’t fussed about the pass itself, but were aiming for the Roman Fort at the top. Unfortunately they didn’t quite get that there was never going to be much to see of a Roman Fort, and complained that it was a load of rubble. My Grandad is no longer with us, and I was excited to see something that would have such strong memories of him, even though it was the first time I’d been. We also took a photo of ourselves at the fort to show Dad we’d made it. I really enjoyed the fort, it was amazing to see from the foundations what the layout would have been like, and you could really tell why it was such a key position. I would really recommend trying to get there to check it out, even if it is from the west and back down the way you came, which doesn’t require you to tackle Hardknott or Wrynose at all.


The Lake District really is a spectacular place to visit, we wished we’d had longer to properly explore and see some of the other incredible sights this area has to offer, and we shall definitely be back in the near future.


The Vintage Housewife x

Guest Blog: The House Where Virginia (Sometimes) Lived – 5 Anecdotes from Charleston Farmhouse

It’s incredible how you can live you’re whole life in an area and never know that something wonderful is hidden away! I feel a day trip coming on 🙂

Interesting Literature

By Georgina Parfitt

Charleston Farmhouse sits in a valley of the South Downs at the end of a long dirt road, marked private, which carves and winds around ditches of old trees. The house looks out upon farms and grazing, and just a little farther, the town of Lewes, East Sussex.

Being mostly pacifists, the Bloomsbury set conscientiously objected to national service in the First World War, so the house at Charleston was bought in 1916 and there the group stayed, making the farmhouse a sanctuary for the things it believed in: literature, art, discussion, and new ways of doing things. They covered their sanctuary with pictures, portraits of each other, printed patterns on the tables and the ceilings and the chairs.

‘The house seems full of young people in very high spirits, laughing a great deal at their own jokes,’ Vanessa Bell wrote.

Surprisingly, the same is true of…

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Bucket List No.1 – Stonehenge

When Dave suggested that we each pick a bucket list item in the UK as something for us both to look forward to, and focus on as we got ourselves out the rut we’d both ended up in, my thoughts immediately wandered to the mystical Stonehenge. I used to go down to Cornwall a lot with my family, and we always used to go around Salisbury, synonymous with Stonehenge, yet I never caught a glimpse of this magical site. (I later found out that I had been to Stonehenge when I was very little, but I definitely had no memory of it!)


I’ve always been fascinated by ancient history, having studied Classical Civilisations at college – I even remember my favourite topic at first school being the Romans and the Celts – add to that my love of fantasy and anything remotely magical, and Stonehenge had entrenched itself firmly in my imagination. My mum once told me about the magic of Stonehenge and its pillars; if you were to walk underneath the biggest ‘arch’ of Stonehenge, you would be transported to another universe, a completely different world. I think I must have been a little girl when she told me because it still holds that innocent trace of awe and wonder when I think about it. More recently, mum was telling me about a book she was reading where places like Stonehenge acted as time portals, and a similar portal was at the bottom of Loch Ness, and good old Nessie was really a dinosaur that occasionally wandered back through the time portal. It’s magical, fantastical, and I love it.


As such, I was a little nervous about what it would be like to see the place surrounded by the myriad of tourists that flock to the Salisbury Plains everyday to walk around this very special place. I also remember going to Glastonbury Tor, and whilst I don’t know enough about ley lines to go into any kind of detail, I do know that both the Tor and Stonehenge are at major crossings of these points of the Earth’s energy, and there was a real sense of that at Glastonbury Tor. Even if you don’t believe in anything spiritual about these sites, I really think the Earth has some kind of energy that is bound to be stronger in some places more than others. But, humanity has a tendency to deaden these things somewhat, so I was hoping for at least a quiet day.


We travelled down on the bike, which was a fantastic move as we were able to filter past a good hour’s worth of queuing traffic! The new visitor’s centre had recently opened, and we had heard mixed reviews as it was located quite a distance from Stonehenge itself, but we like a good walk and it was a lovely spring day. The flow of the visitor’s centre works really well we thought, it’s quite open to the air but well sheltered, so you still feel like you’re out in the plains but in a good way. There is a small exhibition of the artefacts discovered on the site, with an interesting circular projection room which makes you feel like you’re standing in the centre of Stonehenge, watching the millennia fly past you in a beautiful time-lapse. 


There is a walk to Stonehenge from the centre, but there is also a shuttle service. This was still having teething problems as they created the roundabout turning point at the other end, but I’m sure that’s all sorted by now. The Salisbury Plains are a beautiful place to walkabout, and I’d love to go back one day soon and do some proper walks, but I was much too excited to get to Stonehenge. The stones are hidden from view for a long time, and even though your first sight is swarmed by tourists, it was as breathtaking for me as I had expected. The road travels past Stonehenge giving you a wonderful view to tease you in, and I’ll be honest, I got a little choked up seeing the magnificent stones up on the rise as we drove in. The path takes you right the way round the circle, bringing you in close to appreciate the massive size of the structure, as well as taking you further away to take in the circle as a whole, and also means you can get some good photos without bright red raincoats in the way (sorry Dad!)


I’ll be honest, I was hoping to be able to articulate my thoughts and feelings of being at this magical place a little better than this, but maybe my gibbering and amateur iPhone photos can help you understand what a truly special places this is, and is really beyond words. It is an amazing place to be, and should be on everyone’s bucket list at some time or another.



The Vintage Housewife x

So the idea is

This is my Mum’s blog! One of her first posts is about the incredible Terracotta Army which she was lucky enough to visit a few years ago, and I hope I will too some day! Please keep an eye on her blog more incredible photos and the stories that go behind them 🙂

Live Love Travel Lots

to share my pictures and experiences, partly so that people actually get to see my pictures and partly so that I have something to do other than vegetate in front of the TV in the evenings. But if I’m honest mostly vanity, as I happen to think that I’ve taken some pretty good pictures over the years and it would be nice to hear some positive comments about some of them.

So here goes……

Terracotta Army

in 2011, for our 25th Wedding Anniversary we went to China. Whilst we were there we visited the Terracotta Army in Xian. It was the single most moving experience I have had whilst travelling. To walk into that room and see the army standing before you, knowing that it has stood there more than 2000 years is truly astonishing. I actually remember the news reports when it was discovered in 1974 by 3 local farmers, standing there and…

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100 Days is Far Too Long…

Yesterday evening I happened to look at my WordPress app on my phone – it’s on the home screen, not like it’s hidden away or anything – and my last notification was from 104 days ago. What the Face?! So optimistically, my last post was over 100 days ago, assuming that my last notification wasn’t from someone trawling through the internet and dragging something up from even longer ago. Well that’s not ok…

I wasn’t in the best of places say, 200 days ago. At the beginning of the year, I had just watched the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Amazing film – seriously if you haven’t seen it you have to watch it. Beautiful, lovely, life-changing film. I came out crying, not at the film, but at how unhappy the film made me realise I was. I knew I wasn’t happy with my job, and had been looking elsewhere for a month or two, but this film really kicked me into realising just how and unhappy job can affect the rest of your life. People say ‘Just treat it as a job, 9-5, then focus on your hobbies.’ But that is impossible if you are so worked up about something that is upsetting you so much, how on earth can dig yourself up out of that well and shift your focus onto something that makes you happy?


Seeing Walter Mitty was the best thing I could have done. My husband of course saw how unhappy I was, and took action as much as I did. He suggested – no, insisted – that we both think of something in the UK to do or see that was bucket list material. He had recently got a fantastic new job that lifted him up and out of a pretty dark place, and suggested I apply there too. So 100 days later, we were working at the same place, had just been to Stonehenge for me, and were planning Hardknott pass in the Lake District for him. But I’ll come back to those.


Because it doesn’t stop there. Flash forward another 100 days, and here I am, wanting to get back into blogging because last night I helped my mum set up her own. I’ll share it in due course once she’s got used to it, but it was so wonderful to see how excited she was getting about the prospect of finally sharing all her amazing photographs and being able to talk about them. She could literally post a photo a day for the rest of her life now, not including all the photos she’s yet to take. And that’s all that matters – the photos. Not continuity, not whether her blog matches anyone else’s blog, that’s all it’s about – passion.

My mum entered an Instagram competition with @britain_talent to be UK photo of the day and she won with this picture of a waterspout from their lounge window!

My mum entered an Instagram competition with @britain_talent to be UK photo of the day and she won with this picture of a waterspout from their lounge window!

I’d spent far too long in my life trying to fit in without even realising it. I’ve discovered vintage in the last few years, and it has done wonders for my confidence. I wear my vintage and repro clothes to work, and I get nothing but smiles and compliments. But I definitely don’t fall in with the crowd. Dave also wears his Hawaiian shirts on dress down Friday – we are a little notorious for being some of the brightest people in the company, which is great. I’ve been working on my model page, getting Layla Rose out there and into the world, and whilst I think I’ve moved on from the idea of ‘making it’, it’s still a really exciting and wonderful scene to be a part of, and somewhere to share the photos I do have done because it is just so much fun.

My shoot with Hamilton Studios

My shoot with Hamilton Studios

My excitement and enthusiasm is growing every day – I recently finished watching Dawn O’Porter’s show This Old Thing, which encourages vintage virgins to give it a go, as well as offering some fantastic tips for vintage shopping. I felt so inspired to get more involved and make vintage even more a part of my life, that’s set off another little (well, if it works out it won’t be so little at all) project for me to work on. I even have a giant notebook! I’ve always been happiest when I’m learning, and if nothing else comes of this I’m happy to be gaining more knowledge and experience in one of the few things that has seriously got me passionate and inspired.


I’m writing so much more now – over a quarter of the way through my novel, if you go by the average of 100,000 words. I don’t have to meet that target, but it’s nice to have an idea of progress. I write in weird blocks; I’ll write a couple of chapters all at once and then nothing for months, which is a little frustrating, but hey if it works, it works. I’m really excited to get back into blogging again, I’ve been feeling so content recently that I finally feel I want to pick it back up again. 

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

So I’m sorry for the long absence my darlings, and I hope to see much more of you all again very soon 🙂

This is Major Tom to Ground Control 😉


The Vintage Housewife x