‘Beside the lake, beneath the trees….’

Wordsworth Country

It was our first time in the Lake District. How ridiculous to read this on the page! We love big landscapes. We love to walk. We love fresh air. We love four seasons in a day. And for all of these reasons we now love the Lakes.

Ambleside was our base for a few days enabling us to scoot around as we pleased. It’s a pretty little town with plenty to entertain after a day’s meanderings. Breakfast at the Apple Pie served us well every morning, particularly in advance of our walk to Helvellyn summit. A full tummy helped to keep us grounded in the 60mph winds 🙂 We saw nothing but cloud but while big, dramatic views would have been great, a great big hike in the fresh air was the point.

We explored Wordsworth’s home at Dove Cottage too a few miles down the road on a rainy morning – sounds like the Museum is getting a (necessary) facelift soon from some overheard conversations, but the Cottage was worth the ticket alone. The guided tour was a sweet, gentle exploration of not just the building, but the times and the poet. There’s an eternal magic about walking in the footsteps of people long gone. If you do find yourself there, look out for the portrait of Pepper the pup and I dare you not to get the giggles!

I stumbled across a really unexpected treat in the town too – the joy that is Bath House, a fragrance and skincare brand founded by artists and designers who live in the Lake District.

Bath House, Ambleside

After a real ale (or two) one evening, we passed the door of this lovely store where some body lotion samples were waiting to be tested. Roll forward a day or two and I was back, craving the scent of Velvet Orchid. I’m really hard to please with skincare products. Sadly I’m an over-sensitive ginger in so many ways but the body lotion is possibly the loveliest I’ve ever tried. Soft, beautifully scented and quite literally like velvet on my skin. I picked up a couple of treats, both the body lotion and purse spray for £36 in total – really well priced.

Velvet Orchid by Bath House, Ambleside

I did check out the delivery FAQs pretty quickly, expecting that age-old NI delivery issue. I needn’t have worried – the Bath House folk know that Royal Mail exists in Northern Ireland too 🙂 Which is good news as I don’t think my purse spray will last too long at the rate I’m going through it.

And so our travels continued to Cartmel for one specific purpose – food! 10 years married to Mr GLV and 20 years together, such milestones need celebrated in style and so we did. While in the village, my vintage antennae picked up a lovely little shop.

Cartmel Village Vintage

I left Mr GLV to sample the wares at Unsworth’s Yard Brewery and found myself in vintage heaven. Bags and brooches and books and trinkets by the bucket load. I could have stayed the whole day and I couldn’t leave empty-handed could I? So I picked up these lovely Deco butter knives for £5. I have some navy and cream handled versions but you can never have too many butter knives, especially in such Technicolor green.

Talking of green, there was a beautiful, emerald-coloured enamel Danish leaf brooch by Meka. I resisted. It took a lot of effort but I’d really love some of the yellow enamel leaf jewellery by David Andersen in the future so I held fire. The lady in the store offered me a great deal on the ticket price though so if you’re visiting, have a chat about the prices.

But I did mention bags… So many lovely vintage bags, including some stunning Mappin & Webb snakeskin. There was such a giddying selection that I could have filled the ferry home. I gave in to this beauty for £20 and it’s worth every penny. An Ackery. An Ackery clutch that’s also a handbag complete with hidden handle. I love a multi-purpose bag 🙂

And the truth be told, I don’t own a red bag so it was a necessary purchase…or so I tell myself…

I do have another beautiful Ackery bag (cheers baby sis) so it is a nice addition to the collection. But moreover, it’s a lovely reminder of more great holidays. Not a souvenir you’d usually associate with a week in Lake District but a treat that will always evoke memories of good times ‘beside the lake, beneath the trees’, in the words of Wordsworth himself.

Rosie xx

V-Cense & Sensibility

So, regular readers, please don’t be alarmed – this blog post doesn’t contain a single reference to vintage bags, vintage brooches or charity shops. It does however touch on some of my other passions – exceptional quality at an incredible price. It’s not a beauty blog either you’ll be pleased to hear – I prefer to think of this post as me sharing a positive story with my friends so please read it with that intention in mind!

I’m (almost) 38 and I’m a red-head with very typically sensitive red-head skin. In fact, sensitive is probably a bit of an understatement-I don’t think I’d allowed myself to understand just how difficult my skin actually was until recently. For many years my skincare routine was a cheap and basic high-street brand cleanser and moisturiser because quite literally using anything else created havoc. In fact, not using anything else could also create havoc – dry skin, spots that lasted weeks and weeks, adult acne…I was terrified to try anything new and also stoically refused to buy into what I thought was a ‘beauty myth’.

My husband is a photographer and frequently works with a wonderful make-up artist Emma (you can find out more about her at emmahanna.com). He very thoughtfully asked Emma for a skincare recommendation a few months back as a gift for me, knowing how upset my skin issues made me feel all too often. And so I became the recipient of a Ren Sensitive Skincare Set. Beautifully packaged in a Deco style tin, it included a cleanser, day cream, night cream and serum.

That was a gift in October and as you can see from my latest spend, just a few months later, I’m completely sold. For the first time in years, my skin is soft, bright and looks properly cared for. I haven’t had a blotch, a spot or a reaction in many weeks. Hubby says my skin looks ‘beautiful’! After years of dealing with problem skin, I’ve realised the problem was mine. I became afraid to look for a good solution as I was obsessively worried about my skin reacting, and I was terrified of buying into an expensive lie.

I should not have worried-let that be a lesson to me.  As a result of my Ren gift, I actually look forward to my skincare routine now. I especially love using V-Cense night cream, one of the most soothing and comforting scents I’ve ever smelled. I’ve not used the Rose Centifolia before so I’m really looking forward to trying it. The sensitive kit was a perfect recommendation and every single product has left my skin feeling cared for. It’s an unusual feeling after years of putting up with poor skin.

And as for the cost debate, I think Ren is brilliantly priced. Not a beauty myth in sight, just great products worth every penny. Not only do the pumps last for ages, the offers available online at RenSkincare.com are excellent too. AND when you sign up online you get to choose 10% of your favourite product for life. Fantastic!

I’m so delighted to have ‘found’ products that make sensitive skin feel like normal skin. With 20% off Ren when you quote MARIECLAIRE20 on the website until midnight 28 Feb 2015, I have a pretty good idea that another delivery will be crossing the Irish Sea before March arrives.

Rosie xx