A Week With The Spitfires

There's no rest for the wicked, and that certainly applies to us Spitfire Sisters. Here's an insight into a typical week for us and what goes on behind the scenes!




Monday is always Spitfire Admin day! It's become a fully incorporated part of our routine. A couple of years into our Sisterhood we realised that we essentially needed office hours to make sure we were keeping up to date with everything. We get together around 9:30, put the kettle on, write a list, and get stuff done. We go through our flagged emails, send out contracts, answer enquiries, plan gigs...our to do list is never ending, which is lovely; it's good to be busy!

Anna and Hannah making themselves at home in Louisa's living room. Yes, that it a jacket potato on that vintage plate and a cup of tea in a vintage cup. 

Anna and Hannah making themselves at home in Louisa's living room. Yes, that it a jacket potato on that vintage plate and a cup of tea in a vintage cup. 

We also run a Vocal Harmony workshop at the Cabinet Rooms on a Monday, which is joyous and a brilliant way to spend an evening. Stay tuned (pardon the pun) for information about an exciting Christmas themed workshop...

Louisa leading a vocal workshop earlier this year as part of WJF with her good pal Henrietta the Hohner Organetta. 

Louisa leading a vocal workshop earlier this year as part of WJF with her good pal Henrietta the Hohner Organetta. 


No meeting (one of the only days of the week we don't see each other) but plenty to do. At the moment we’re spending time learning new vocal and saxophone parts that Louisa has written for us and the band as we have plenty of upcoming tour dates, including our show at the Theatre Royal Winchester! Tickets available here.



Wednesday is Jazz day! We run Winchester Jazz Festival, which takes place every September, and yes - we’re already planning next year’s festival. We're currently booking bands, contacting venues, and looking for sponsors. If you're interested in being involved in the festival in any way, you can contact us here. You may have seen on our Instagram all the amazing photos that Anna took of the 2017 festival. If you haven't had a chance to have a look, check it out here!

The Tuba Libres at WJF17

The Tuba Libres at WJF17

Sax Appeal at WJF17

Sax Appeal at WJF17

Edana Minghella at WJF17

Edana Minghella at WJF17


As part of WJF, on Thursday and Friday nights we book the Jazz at the Corner House, a wonderful venue in Winchester. We’ll always try and pop down to greet the act (and maybe have a drink or too!). You can see the listings for the rest of the year here.


Friday & Saturday

We gig throughout the week but mainly our performances fall on Fridays and Saturdays. It never ever gets old to put on our Ruby Woo, curl our hair (Hannah doesn't really need to do this but she likes to feel included in the hair prep), and stick on an amazing outfit from Lindy Bop or Ghost. You can see all our upcoming performances here.

When leaving the house in curlers, it is customary to wrap them in a fabulous scarf. 

When leaving the house in curlers, it is customary to wrap them in a fabulous scarf. 


Sunday is band rehearsal day, and it's always a delight to get the gang back together. With eleven of us it's a loud affair. We rehearse until quite late (much to the joy of the neighbours!) because not only is there plenty of music to play, there is also always loads to catch up about.

Our wonderful band don't seem to take us that seriously...

Our wonderful band don't seem to take us that seriously...

We hope you've enjoyed a brief insight to our week! Are there any behind the scenes moments you would particularly like to see? Let us know and we'll blog about them. 


Nails nails nails

We all love well groomed, glamorous fingertips. Here's how we've been striving to attain them recently.

Hannah: I have a confession. I'm addicted to shellac.

Louisa: How long have you been an addict?

H: I'm on my third round, so only about a month and a half. But I love it. I tried it a few years ago with you lovely ladies but picked it all off which is against Rule Number One of shellac.

Now I feel much more patient, if it chips I leave it well alone.

But the beauty of shellac is that it doesn't chip for ages.

L: My one and experience with shellac was our dalliance with it last year and I also committed that mortal sin of picking it all off. I didn't like not having the option of being able to take it off myself, perhaps I have control issues?

What are your feelings towards shellac, Anna?

Anna: I never get to the picking-off stage with shellac. I think I must be more tactile than your average shellac-wearer because on the few occasions I've done it, it's been chipped within a day. Which is a shame, because I always admire beautifully painted nails. I have the same problem with normal nail varnish too.

L: I would definitely like to give shellac another go. I have been trying out some nail wraps this week after my neighbour held a jamberry nail wrap party. I didn't do the good thing and buy some there, at £15 per sheet for 2 applications each for hands and feet, but instead I looked on eBay and found that I could buy a half sheet for £6. I was prepared to give that a go. I went for a super glittery red which is called Mai Tai. They look like a sheet of pre-cut transfers with various sizes and you have to match the right size for your nail. You then peel off the transfer from the sheet using an orange stick, being careful not to touch the adhesive, heat it for a few seconds using a hairdryer (or go all in and get the especially designed jamberry heater) and then apply it to your nail. Once it's in place, heat it some more with the hairdryer and then smooth and press it all down with the orange hoof. To trim the excess at the edge of the nail you file (downwards only) over the transfer at the nail tip until it is removed. This all felt like quite an effort and had to be broken up by eating dinner (I had two big toes and one hand done at that point). At first I wasn't convinced as there was some slight (very slight, I am a perfectionist when it comes to nails) puckering and lifting around the edges of the nail and they took a little getting used to. The longer I've had them on (day 8 as I write this) the more I've appreciated them. They have super staying power and don't chip at all. I would definitely give them another go. They specialise in very detailed pattern prints, which would probably disguise any slight imperfections, but I usually prefer a block colour on my nails. I was hoping they might do a Dita Von Teese style half moon wrap. Maybe that's a business opportunity for her?

H: They've held up really well!

Jamberry nail wraps in Mai Tai. Day 8.

Jamberry nail wraps in Mai Tai. Day 8.

Hannah's latest Shellac and her beautiful Tessa Metcalfe ring.

Hannah's latest Shellac and her beautiful Tessa Metcalfe ring.

L: WOW that's lovely! And... Is that a Tessa Metcalfe ring adorning your finger??

H: Well, I have to keep my nails looking nice for that too! Can't be wearing that ring everyday without my nails looking tip top. I also prefer a solid colour on my nails, but I would be very happy to give the wrap a go! I am just so bad at painting my nails, I don't have the patience to wait for them to dry and the second they are painted I always try and do the washing up or laundry or something so they Smudge immediately.

A: Well I know the polish for you Hannah! At the moment I'm using OPI Infinite Shine Lacquer, which is a 3-step polish that dries ultra, ultra quickly. Even for me I can keep this looking good for a week! I bought it on an impulse at the airport on our way back from our Lindy Hop weekend in Calpe and have since collected a handful of different colours. Annoyingly some of them go on better than others, but the darker reds are sleek and shiny and delicious!

H: I feel like because we commit to a variation on the red nail for our gigs, it's nice to shake it up sometimes, but actually I'm happiest with a red nail of some description. I want to do Dita proud!

A: I totally agree. I always go back to a deep red

L: I used to be very adventurous with nail colour in my teens but I have recently culled my multicoloured ancient nail varnish collection as I really only use shades of pinks and reds. I do occasionally like having a go at painting a flash of gold at the base of my nail as an attempt to be Dita cool.

H: I love a gold accent!

L: My favourite varnish at the moment is Rimmel salon pro and my most used shade is 703 Rock n Roll. It's as close to Ruby Woo as I can find. It's got a lovely wide brush so I can usually do a nail with just three strokes (even when applying on a moving train).

H: That is a skill I just don't have. I can't even do it when I'm completely still and silent.

A: At least on a moving train there aren't so many distractions

L: Whichever varnish you use, I urge you to make sure you at least use a base coat. It helps to protect your natural nail from staining, it helps the removal of the varnish when you come to take it off and it gives a better finish to the polish as you'll have had a smoother foundation to paint on.

A: I've definitely learnt that from you. It also makes it easier to peel off...

H: I get told off for that all the time

L: Hahahahaha! Cuticle care is also a must. I suffer from very dry hands in the winter and cracked cuticles will ruin the look of a beautifully polished nail. I painted my Granma's nails yesterday and she had bought a lovely brush on almond cuticle oil stick from the Body Shop. I think I'll have to get one to stash in my handbag.

A: I have one of those! They smell delicious

L: Just remember that if you moisturise your hands or cuticles before you apply polish, clean your nail with nail varnish remover first to take away any excess oils that would stop the varnish from adhering so well. Top tips. I went to beauty college.

A: Teach us!!
L: Hahaha maybe we should do a group manicure tutorial blog!
H: Show us your ways! Yes Please!
L: Or vlog!
H: As long as we don't use that word
A: Corr blimey. How very cutting edge!!
L: What could we call it, Hannah?