Category Archives: Hair, make up and stuff like that

The Wartime Housewife is washing her hair

Imagine this but blonde - how I wish she'd stop copying me!

Yes indeed.  Tonight I am washing my hair – well, slightly more than washing if I’m honest.   When I have washed my hair, I’m going to put it in rollers in the vain hope that, with enough ‘product’, it will not only look as I want it to, but will stay looking as I want it to for the rest of the day.

I have the straightest hair in Christendom and despite having plenty of hair, it is so fine that it always looks thin, which is a right royal bugger.  With the current trend for straight, sleek (oh how I hate that word) styles, everyone thinks I should be grateful.  Well I’m not.  All I have ever wanted is thick, wavy locks that I can style with ease.

I go to the hairdresser and she fiddles and farts about, producing handfuls of ‘product’ and hot brushes and I leave looking fabulous.  But by the time I have walked down the street, had a coffee and bought some shoes, it is already dropping and by the next day it can be safely said that my two hours spent in the ghastly salon with it’s punitive lighting were completely wasted.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want a perm.  I want curls in my hair that I can rough up and look messy, or style and wave so I look like a blonde Dita von Teese.  ALL DAY.  I love my hair when a perm is dropping – those loose waves that look as though they’re supposed to be there.

But can I get one?  My salon is full of young girls with geometric bobs and so much make-up they have to tip their heads back to get their eyes open.  Only two hairdressers in the place know how to do a perm and neither of them have heard of Dita von Teese or laugh when I try to describe a ‘just shagged’ look.

I will seek out one of these hairdressers and demand chemicals and several hours of their time.  I will demand that they don’t cut all my hair off (which I have been assiduously growing for the last two years) and I will leave with the curls I deserve.  Not only that, I will drink all their coffee, eat their Lotus biscuits and spurn their horrible magazines in favour of my own book.  Neither will I lure them into a conversation about holidays, weddings or body piercing.

I will let you know when the deed is done.


Filed under Hair, make up and stuff like that

Social Stereotypes: The Mothers who Cannot Win

The Telegraph Saturday magazine always has a Social Stereotype piece by Victoria Mather with an illustration by Sue Macartney-Snape.  This feature has been going for some years now and is becoming increasingly un-funny as, I suspect, she’s running out of ideas.

Last Saturday, the stereotype was ‘The Mother Hen’ and the description was of a dowdy woman who had let herself go and was neglecting her husband because she put all her energy into her children.

I know it was a tongue in cheek look at an extreme person, but for some reason my hackles went up.

Mothers really don’t seem to be able to win on any level.  If they go out to work and leave their children with child-minders, they’re vilified for not putting the work in with their children.  Even if no-one actually says anything, they still feel guilty because they want a career and a family.

If they manage to look glamorous, there is an assumption that they probably have no interests or hobbies if they manage to find that much time for personal grooming.

If they don’t look glamorous, then they’ve let themselves go, are almost certainly ignoring their husband’s needs and are clearly three types of hippy.

If they feed the family on ready meals they’re accused of  handing out a death sentence through heart disease, obesity, diabetes and probably St Vitus Dance and elephantiasis of the bollocks to boot.

But if they cook everything from scratch then they must be a crank and an obsessive who wouldn’t even let a fish finger or a French Fancy into the house without fainting.

Now.  I know that there are women out there who do take ‘parenting’ to extremes and who do ignore their partners and hover round their children, monitoring their every move, intervening at every turn and refusing to allow them any opportunity to take risks or develop independence.  Helicopter Parents I believe is the current expression.

But I’m sick to death of women who choose a more traditional template for raising their families being somehow looked down upon and having the piss taken out of them.

I could rant on for several hundred pages about how feminism has turned round and bitten women on the bum, but I will only say this.  The point of the feminist movement was to give women choices; choices about how they lived, worked, raised children, conducted relationships, to bake or not to bake.

What has actually happened is that they now feel they have to do everything and often end up not doing anything very well.  I did have a period  as a full time, stay at home mother and I loved every minute of it.  Now that I’m a single parent, I no longer have that luxury but at least, most of the time, I work from home.  That’s my choice  and I couldn’t afford childcare in the holidays even if I wanted it.

Of course the woman in the piece is over the top and we all know women who, once they have their children, no longer require the services of a husband.  But I can’t help feeling that this is yet another mealy-mouthed attack on the mothers who believe that raising children is a full time job.

Guess what?  It is – however you choose to do it.

Reproduced without the permission of The Telegraph


Filed under Children, Family and Friends, Hair, make up and stuff like that, Life in general

A luxurious home-made hand scrub

This hand scrub is so easy to make, very cheap and makes your hands feel like silk.  You will also be startled by how much dirt comes off your hands.  I used lavender oil to make it smell lovely, but you could use whatever you like: rose, bergamot, peppermint, ginger etc., and blended it with sea salt and olive oil

Of course you could also use it on your feet, and peppermint oil is wonderfully cooling and refreshing for tired feets.

Just before Christmas someone on a stand at the shopping centre tried to sell me a jar of what was, ostensibly, the recipe below, except the salt came from the Dead Sea.  His cost forty quid. Mmmm.


Simple ingredients


1 small bowl
1 x sealable jar to keep the remainder in

2 heaped tablespoons of coarse sea salt
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (wheatgerm or sweet almond oil could also be used)
1-2 drops essential oil of your choice

Put the ingredients into a bowl and stir well
Scoop some onto your hands – a few teaspoonfuls should do it
Rub it all over your hands, in between the fingers, rub it into your cuticles etc
Keep going until the salt has all but dissolved
Wash the excess oil off with a little gentle soap
Dry your hands – they will feel like silk
Apply your favourite hand cream

As an extra treat for your hands, buy a pair of cotton gloves from the chemist.  Put your hand cream on, a little more thickly than usual, then pop on the gloves and go to bed or put your feet up for an hour.  The heat from your hands helps the cream to be deeply absorbed and more effective.


Filed under Hair, make up and stuff like that, Health and Fitness, Natural Home Medicines

I’m washing my hair, but until then, there’s dry shampoo

Last night I was unable to prepare a blog for Friday because I was washing my hair.  No, I really was actually washing my hair.  It’s not easy, you know.  The taps on the basin are too small to take the shower hose.  The taps on the bath will fit but the loo extends halfway down the bath which involves significant contortions in order to reach the shower head.  This means that I have to wash my hair in the bath.  However, if the dishwasher or the washing machine are on, there is not enough hot water to have a bath as the water is heated by an immersion tank and is therefore finite. 

There is no shower and no radiator in the bathroom and it is cold and damp.  There is a heater on the wall but it costs £45 per second to run.  Therefore a bath has to be planned so that no other watery appliances are running and I can put the heater on for a bit before my bath to avoid hypothermia and bronchial spasm.  Tonight’s the night!

I have to keep my hair going between baths with dry shampoo, which is a complete life saver.  I have tried many brands but my favourite is Batiste which is effective and sensibly priced.  Also, they do a little handbag-sized one in case you get caught out.  Which I often do.

Roll on the warmer weather.


Filed under Hair, make up and stuff like that

Pubic Hair: from Egyptians to Vajazzles

In which the Wartime Housewife discusses the changing fashions of body hair, pubic shaving, ornamentation, vajazzles and general minge maintenance.  If you don’t wish to learn about front bottoms, look away now.

Leaves not pubes

I was having a conversation with my friend Dr Bones (who is very worldly) and, yet again, she brought up the subject of intimate shaving and merkins.   As a doctor she comes into contact with a great many intriguing things and we recently had a conversation about the increasing requests from young women wanting cosmetic surgery on their genitals.

She is convinced that this new fixation is a combination of them being exposed to sexually explicit material (though the fashion is now coming into the mainstream with series such as ITV2’s astonishing The Only Way Is Essex) and the fact that many young women remove all or most of their pubic hair and are suddenly startled by the appearance of their nether regions.

This time, however, she introduced us all to the new fashion of Vajazzling.  But you’re going to have to read to the end of the article to find out what it is.  No gain without pain, my dears.

Pubic hair is a funny old business and its presence is as subject to fashion as anything else.  Although fine vellus hair is present in childhood, the term pubic hair is generally restricted to the heavier, longer and coarser hair that develops with puberty as an effect of rising levels of androgens. Pubic hair is therefore part of the androgenic hair, ergo, a symbol of sexual maturity.

The practice of pubic hair removal can be dated back to at least 4,000 BC in India and Egypt.  Shaving unwanted hair on the body – under arms, legs, face, genital & anal areas – was viewed as a personal hygiene necessity for both men and women which was adopted by other countries over the centuries.   Muslims have historically been firm protagonists of body grooming and hair removal.  Hair removed from the pubis area and from under the arm is part of a routine of cleanliness called the fitrah.  This consists of five things: circumcision, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails, plucking the armpit hairs and shaving the pubic hairs.

Roman razor

Hair was removed by many different methods, razor, cream, tweezers, heat, honey etc.  Around 3000 BC, the copper razor appeared in both Egypt & India, but the most elaborate model of a razor was created around 1500-1200 BC in Scandinavia.  In ancient Egypt it was a sign of class and beauty to have a smooth  and hairless body. They developed a depilatory cream that was made of honey & oil and was very similar to our modern day “sugaring”.  Around 400 BC women effectively burnt the hair off their legs using heat. The Romans used depilatory cream made from resin, pitch, white vine, ivy extract, donkey fat, she-goats’ gall, bats’ blood and powdered viper.  Nice.

By 1270 The Crusaders had brought the practice back with them from the Middle East.  By the Renaissance, every scrap of body hair was being removed, including eyebrows which were then replaced with mouse skin.  However, this trend appears to have reversed in the Elizabethan and Georgian period, as there is written evidence that women plaited their pubic hair with ribbons and little ornaments and, thankfully, applied a lot of perfume as well.

The pubic wig (merkin) has been around since the 1400s when it was originally worn by women who had shaved off their pubic hair to prevent lice. In the Victorian times it was frequently worn by prostitutes who wanted to conceal the fact that they had diseases like syphilis.

Pleasantly plump woman with no pubic hair

Among the upper class in 19th century Victorian Britain, pubic hair from one’s lover was frequently collected as a souvenir. The curls were, for instance, worn like cockades in men’s hats as potency talismans, or exchanged among lovers as tokens of affection.  The museum of St. Andrews University in Scotland has in its collection a snuff box full of pubic hair from one of King George IV’s mistresses.  The notoriously licentious monarch donated it to the Fife sex club, The Beggar’s Benison.

At last, a welcome mat

There is an apocryphal story that the art critic, social philosopher, poet and artist, John Ruskin, recoiled from his wife on their wedding night when he found, to his horror, that she had pubic hair.  Pubic hair itself was unpleasant enough but the concept it implied was even worse: women, in general, had pubic hair.  Pubic hair was notably absent from all images of women he had ever seen, and the absence of it somehow epitomized to Ruskin the un-sexed nature of the “fairer sex.”  What could possibly be more mortifying to a man who so deeply perceived women as nonsexual, child-like in their simplicity, purity, and power of reasoning, than to discover—on his wedding night—that women, his simple play-things, were in fact whole and sexual beings?

This difficulty of the sexual perception of women persists to this day.  I bet if you were to ask a large group of men whether they preferred their girlfriends with a ‘welcome mat’ or a ‘landing strip’ you would get a lot of different answers.  I harbour the uncomfortable feeling that the removal of pubic hair makes women look more like children and is yet another example of the frighteningly confusing sexual messages at large in modern society.

The advent of the thong – underwear that covers the pubis but leaves your bottom bare – encouraged the removal of most of one’s pubic hair.  The alternative is to look as though you have a Yorkshire Terrier in your knickers.   And now, in a wonderful revival of the Elizabethan habit of ornamentation we have (drumroll)……..

The Vajazzle

Butterfly Vajazzle

This is the application of little coloured crystals, Vajazzles, to the pubic or genital area.  They can be applied anywhere on the skin but they have been designed for the Lady’s Area or you can get special patterns for breasts. There is even a heart-shaped Union Jack variety, which is lovely. The vajazzling pattern should last a few days but the wearing of tight fitting clothes will rub the stones off.  Loose fitting pants are recommended.

So now you know. There are also pubic hair dyes available in natural and day-glo colours.  If you wish, you could have a shocking pink fanny decorated all round with little green crystals.  Oh – and then there’s piercing…

Elizabethans eat your heart out.  There is nothing new under the sun.


Filed under Hair, make up and stuff like that, History

Top Tip

Now apply to your face

Don’t throw away the old heads from electric toothbrushes they make excellent exfoliators for your skin. 

Dip the head into your favourite cleansing cream or rub a bit of soap on the end, switch it on and move the brush gently over your face and neck.  It does a super job of getting rid of dead skin cells and improving the circulation.  Remember to apply moisturiser afterwards.

Exfoliation is good for men as well as women as it keeps your skin soft and healthy and smoothes the way for shaving.


Filed under Hair, make up and stuff like that

A little bit eyebrow for me?

I wear make-up, a lot of red lippy and have been known to blow dry my hair, but the days are long gone when I had half a day to get ready to go out.  Most days I think I’ve glammed up if I manage to get my pants on the right way round, and if they actually match my liberty bodice, then look out boys!

Recently though, I’ve been experimenting a bit with a more 40s look to my make-up and decided that I ought to cast a critical eye over my eyebrows, which is quite a feat I can tell you.

I am very blonde and my eyebrows are almost invisible.  In my entire life, I have only paid cosmetic attention to them once.  I had them waxed by an indifferent young lady in a salon in Oundle, and came up in such a pustular rash that I vowed never to touch them again.  But I look at other people’s elegant, perfectly arched, brown eyebrows and I feel a pang of loss, my dears, I do.

When The Boys were away in Norfolk, I plucked up the courage to go and buy some tweezers in order to have a go myself.  There on the shelf was a small box in which nestled a pearly pink Beauty Works Beauty Trimmer.  I looked at the spec. and was lightly alarmed to note that it was for “eyebrows, bikini area and neckline”.  Neckline?  Women shave their chests now?  Good grief.  At £2.99 I couldn’t go wrong.

It’s a tiny little blade like the one they use in barbers for the back of your neck … oh dear, I’ve just realised that’s what they mean by neckline, sorry for the misunderstanding … and it does tiny, tiny bits of you.  I mastered it in a moment and, bit by bit, so as not to make any horrible mistakes, I shaped those eyebrows into lovely little arches.

Except of course, they were still virtually invisible.  I coloured them in lightly with an eyebrow pencil, but the change felt very alien.  My neighbour, Ms Rozzer, dropped by at that moment, and I could see her staring at me, slightly perplexed because she knew there was something different, but she couldn’t work out what.  At least she didn’t shriek “Bloody hell! There’s a pair of caterpillars on your forehead love!” which she undoubtedly would have done had it been deemed necessary.  I, in turn, was staring hard at her eyebrows, which are one neutron thick and six inches above her eye sockets. 

It was at this point that I suddenly said “Did you know that in the 17th and 18th centuries women used to shave their eyebrows off and stick pieces of mouse fur on instead?”  She stared at me with her eyes narrowed for a moment, then said “I think I’m going for a run mate, before the rain stops” and legged it down the cinder path.  She came back an hour later, sopping wet and clutching a bottle of iron tablets.  “I think you need these more than me,” she said “you look a bit peaky”.  Oh. 

Could have been worse, she could have brought me a mouse.

JML Beauty Trimmer


Filed under Hair, make up and stuff like that