Monday, 23 September 2013

Leading Lady Hair: Joan Crawford in "The Women"

“I think that the most important thing a woman can have- next to talent, of course- is her hairdresser.” ― Joan Crawford

Everyone loves “The Women” – in fact I could have sworn I'd reviewed it just a couple of years ago but I can't find the damned thing.  Aaaanyway...the one thing I didn’t love then was Joan Crawford’s hair.  I didn’t understand how her character was supposed to be sexy when she was such an ice queen with this curly top just overpowering the screen.  However, on rewatching the film this weekend I have completely changed my opinion.  Yes, her hair is a crazy ball of quite unruly frizz but it represents the wildness of her character – the leopard within...

So, inspired by my new love of Joan’s tresses and my own newly dark hair (courtesy of the lovely Lucie at Rockalily), I decided to attempt this for myself.  The ideal hair length for this is shoulder length and above, a layered middy cut would work amazingly but I got away with this on my one length bob too.

As usual I went for a wet set – the items needed for this are:

·         - Rat tail comb (preferably with a metal tail – the plastic ones aren’t sharp enough in general)
·         - Small rollers and lots of them – I used foam rollers but anything small will do
·         - Setting lotion – I used motions foamy set as it is easy to apply
·         - A brushing out brush – I prefer a Denman
·        -  Bobby pins to match your hair
·       -  Hairspray – I prefer Tresemme freeze hold

First I combed my hair out all over and set in a low side part, I tend to part level with the peak of my eyebrow arch but you can pretty much part yours wherever you like.

I then applied setting lotion all through the bottom half of the hair at the back and to the roots at the top.  Note: you don't want setting lotion on the crown of the hair at the back.

Starting on the smaller aside I took thin sections, about the width of the roller, and rolled four or five skinny sponge rollers in tightly, rolling the hair under.  The key here is to get lots of rollers in – more than you think you need certainly.  This is one style where you actually want frizz.

You then run rollers in the same way down the think side of the hair, just one row, going in no further than one rollers width. Finally, leaving the crown flat, roll the back hair onto the same size rollers, going up no further than the nape of the neck.

I then stuck a hair net on and slept on it.  It was jolly nice to sleep in foam rollers instead of hard perm rods I can tell you!

The next morning, take out all the rollers and brush out the hair. You want to keep the frizz so you don’t want to brush too much, fight the urge!  I started by brushing downward then in an upward direction to fluff it all up.  It kinda looks scary st this stage.

The key to keeping this style looking 30s is the flat crown, here is where your bobby pins come in.  I added a row of bobby pins from ear to ear long the nape of the neck, inserted horizontally, then, to cover them, brushed the curls up and fluffed them over the pins.

Finally, when you have arranged the fluff approximately where you want it (I went for a Joan style slight dip over the forehead)  you want to spray on the hairspray and then, while the spray is still damp, mould the hair into the shape you want by sort of gently pushing it in all over.  This helps make the hair more dense and less flyaway looking. 


Friday, 6 September 2013


I’ve got a few posts coming up that I’ve been sat on.  Sorry and all that.  I’m just not feeling the blog love lately. was my birthday recently and I decided I fancied getting out of London for a few days, so went with the chap to stay at his mum’s house in Hemel Hempstead.  I grew up not far away, in Hatfield, but as a child I never realised how many amazing places were just a short drive away.  To me it was all supermarkets and concrete....  Spoilt for choice it took me some time to decide what to do on the day and after going through a huge list of options we decided to visit Stowe House, a stately home in landscaped gardens just over in Buckinghamshire.

Stowe House and gardens was the brainchild of Richard Temple, the 1st Viscount Cobham, though the land had already been in the family for some time. 

The grounds have been through various incarnations – its fussy gardens, which enchanted the poet Pope in 1731 being swept away by Capability Brown just 10 years later to make way for the majestic rolling landscape that remains.

To build, to plant, whatever you intend,
To rear the Column, or the Arch to bend,
To swell the Terras, or to sink the Grot;
In all, let Nature never be forgot.
But treat the Goddess like a modest fair,
Nor over-dress, nor leave her wholly bare;
Let not each beauty ev'ry where be spy'd,
Where half the skill is decently to hide.
He gains all points who pleasingly confounds
Surprises, varies, and conceals the Bounds.
Consult the Genius of the Place in all;
That tells the Waters or to rise, or fall,
Or helps th' ambitious Hill the heav'n to scale,
Or scoops in circling theatres the Vale,
Calls in the Country, catches opening glades,
Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades,
Now breaks or now directs th' intending Lines;
Paints as you plant, and, as you work, designs.
Still follow Sense, of ev'ry Art the Soul,
Parts answ'ring parts shall slide into a whole,
Spontaneous beauties all around advance,
Start ev'n from Difficulty, strike from Chance;
Nature shall join you, Time shall make it grow
A Work to wonder at--perhaps a STOWE

The house itself was completely reworked in the Victorian era, with the express purpose of impressing the Queen herself.  The 2nd Duke of Buckingham got himself over 1.5 million pounds into debt doing so, and her Majesty only stayed for three nights.  Following this disaster all moveable assests were sold and the house closed up until his death. 

There were a few attempts to sell the place throughout the early 20th Century but sadly no takers and so in another auction in 1922 most of the statuary was sold.  There were concerns that the house would have to be demolished until it became a private school, it remains so to this day, a very exclusive school to say the least.  Restoration of the house was begun in begun in 2000 and is still happening.

Here are some more pictures of its 250 acres of temples, lakes and follies:

I do love a stately home and a landscaped garden.  What is your favourite grand house?