BBC Archive - Hollywood Voices

Bette Davis
 Whilst writing a blog post for The Historical Sauces I came across a site that has thrilled me beyond all belief! If you don't know about the BBC Archive - Hollywood Voices then oh my gosh you are in for a treat!!

It features radio interviews with Hollywood greats including Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth, Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, Doris Day............... to name just a few! Some of the interviews are short with just a few minutes of chat others last for over an hour.

I won't tell you anymore, this is a very short but sweet post. I will let the stars tell you themselves! Here's the link - you may want to add it to your favourites due to it's fabulousness. It makes me so happy that archives like this exist. Just click on the link below, sit back and enjoy.

BBC Archive - Hollywood Voices

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Sun - is that really you?

What's that I spy? Could it be blue skies? Sunshine and may be, just may be a glimpse of spring?.............. Let's hope so, as much as I love and adore my faux fur it's lovely to be able to go out with just a light weight coat, sunglasses although despite the fact we've not too much sun yet, I've still managed to break a pair of sunglasses already this year. Tut!

My favourite type of sunglasses are the wayfarer style - and Primark always had a good selection on these in various frame colours so you can have as much fun or coordination as you like for just a couple of pounds a pair.

RIP sunnies- these are the ones I broke a few weeks ago
I don't spend lot of money on a pair of sunglasses. A) I can't afford to B) I like to have a selection of frames/colours C) I'm far to clumsy. My glasses don't break because they are cheap, they break because I'm a clumsy Clara or a forgetful fool. I like second hand glasses too, you just have to check the lenses aren't too scratched but you can find some good true vintage ones out there if you're prepared to hunt.

Charity shop 1970's sunglasses 50p
I'm hoping that elusive fella aka the sun, is here to stay. Just in case you need some style inspiration for some new sunnies I thought we could take a look at how they've been sported in the past. Step into my time machine and let's hit the sunny days of times gone by.....


Life magazines are always amazing to look through so if you ever come across some cheap then they are worth buying. 
Grace Kelly

Lauren Becall
Do you need full on sunshine before you grab your shades or do you throw them on the moment it starts to get bright?......
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Style Icon: Jean Harlow

Jean Harlow 3 March 1911 - 7 June 1937

Firstly I have to thank you for your for all the comments about the previous Style Icon posts (If you missed them I will add links at the end don't worry) I guess in a world that can often seem to be full of doom and gloom we still love and perhaps need a bit of glamour. A bit of sparkle and glitz. Whether your budget is Oxfam or Dior you can take inspiration from the style queens of the past. With the Oscars fast approaching I thought we'd take a look at Jean Harlow as a style icon today.

Often evening wear can appear very thirties inspired with its timeless and elegant lines. Jean Harlow certainly added a whole lot of sexiness to what could be a demur look. When you hear the words ' blonde bombshell' you'd be forgiven for thinking of Marilyn Monroe but Jean Harlow is often referred to as the 'original blonde bombshell'.

Born in Kansas City Missouri  Harlean Harlow Carpenter (Harlow was her mothers maiden name) to a father (Mont Clair Carpenter ) who was a dentist and a mother ( Jean Poe Carpenter) who was the daughter of a rich real estate broker, her childhood was not always the happiest with her parents having an unhappy marriage and finally divorcing in 1922 when Jean Harlow was just eleven. She went to live with her mother, single parenthood, like binge drinking is really nothing new.

Researching this post has been so interesting, in 1923 the pair moved to Hollywood because Jean's MOTHER had aspirations to pursue an acting career but her hopes were dashed, as at 34 she was considered too old! Struggling for money, her wealthy father ordered her to come home or be disinherited.

Funny isn't it? At 34  (that's my age!) you're past it and can't become an actress but your parents can still control you.... that's also something that isn't a new phenomenon. It's said that her father actually arranged the marriage that she had left, so it's no surprise that she wanted to escape the life she had been placed into and it must have been soul destroying to have the door of Hollywood closed in her face.

Eventually they had no choice but to return  'home' but Harlow's mother never stopped wanting a better life for herself and her daughter. Jean Harlow went on to drop out of high school in 1925. Harlow's mother sent her back to a different school where Jean went on to meet her her husband who within a few months of marriage he received a large inheritance which rocketed Jean Harlow on to the socialite scene. It's said neither of them worked, living on the inheritance money enabled them both to party and drink heavily.

Jean Harlow's 'break' was purely down being in the right place at the right time, allegedly she was just sitting in a car having agreed to keep a friend company as she attended an appointment at Fox Studios. The story goes that and executive walked past the car as she sat alone waiting for her friend to return, he was quite taken with her and so approached her about auditioning for some parts. She said no and that she wasn't interested! But the executive, not wanting to take no for an answer gave her some details and during a conversation with her friend later that day a bet was made that she wouldn't dare go back and audition! Pushed by her mother to do it, she returned and was signed and began using the name Jean Harlow.

I wonder how her mother would have felt at that? Thrilled? A little envious may be? Starting off as a paid but uncredited extra, Jean Harlow's climb to success seems to have had a lot to do with her pushy mum  from all the pieces I've read. But what a career she went on to have despite dying so young at the age of just twenty six.

Her hair was dyed blonder and blonder as the years passed and Harlow's striking platinum blonde look was so sought after that sales of hydrogen peroxide in America trebled during the thirties (I wonder how many of those sales ended in injury?!)

Jean Harlow went on to be married a further two times with husband number two committing suicide. Jean Harlow was chief suspect at first and it was thought that she had shot him herself. The death was judged to be suicide in the end though and whilst is was a big Hollywood scandal it didn't harm her career at all and she continued headlining  films alongside big stars including James Stewart and Clark Gable right up until her death in 1937 from kidney failure. As always there are a million rumours out there that claim this is a cover up and that she died from alcoholism, an abortion gone wrong and a whole host of other issues.


A short but intriguing life, when I think Jean Harlow I think if full on glamour and decadence. Silky gowns and robes trimmed with marabou. If you have the urge to take inspiration from the thirties then for a Hollywood inspired evening look, think long floor sweeping bias cut satin/silk gowns, chiffon dresses where the material is layered to create a waterfall/floaty effect. Think swooshy and graceful.

'' You can't slouch in them or walk heavily in an ungainly manner. You have to hold your head high to give them the right line''  - Jean Harlow gives advice on bias cut dresses.

Red dress  from Debenhams was £150, reduced to £75online price £45

Blue dress from Girl Meets Dress from £109 (for two nights HIRE!) A great way to be a 30's goddess in a dress that has an rrp of £700 ! click the link and go to the website to see how dress hire works.

You can keep jewellery quite simple or do what I did when I attended a thirties cocktail party and go for some waterfall diamond earrings..... straight from Primark!

Dress from Debenhams - Their evening wear is really superb.

Never have I worn a pair of earrings that got so much attention, and gasps when I said they were from Primark!

My hair is actually quite long but I've set it and gripped it into a faux bob - really easy to do. I'll cover thirties inspired hair in a separate post but in the mean time here are some links to some thirties themed cocktail parties I've attended which you may inspire you even further.

What makes a cocktail party a marvelous one?

1930s cocktails and glamour

Below you will find the two other Style Icon posts I mentioned earlier.

Style Icon: Louise Brooks

Style Icon: Elizabeth Taylor
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Benefit Masterclass

When I was asked if I'd like to go and play with some make up..... I couldn't say yes please fast enough. My make up routine is actually pretty simple, I'm don't wear foundation 100% of the time but I do like a few dots of concealer under my eyes, a bit of powder, I like to give my eyebrows more definition and of course I'm a huge fan of liquid eyeliner and red lippie. Oh and mascara, I do like my mascara and don't feel I have my eyes on without it.

Benefit Boutiques are always a feast for the eyes....................

High Beam is possibly one of my most fave products. Ever.
Turning up to the Benefit make up masterclass we were greeted by a very happy Bene-babe Amy-Lou, who advised us she would be taking us through the mini make up school, she was obviously very proud of the fact that Norwich is the first Benefit boutique in the country to have a dedicated classroom to hold these kind of events. I was there with Gemma from Retro Chick, Lucy from Glamourologist and Karen from Blue Skies Vintage Events.

Left to right: Karen, Lucy, me, Gemma
It was a lovely little room with a long table full of make up and cupcakes, with seating for six people it was cosy but not too squashed, we didn't need to take anything with us as brushes were provided .

Each person had a little bag of sweeties and a book of post it notes to jot down thoughts along the way.
The first thing we did was remove our make up. This was a bit of an eek moment for all of us and although we were shut away in this private little room it's still feels quite public when you do it in front of five other people! Still, we were reassured that we would soon be putting it back on again........

*WARNING* you are about to witness my freshly cleansed make up free face. Put down any hot beverages and move small children and those with heart conditions away from the screen....

Quickly moving on.....We prepped our skin according to our skin type with the appropriate Benefit products, this wasn't just a take your make up off with a wipe and put new stuff back on again, we were talked through products for different skin types and we cleansed, toned and moisturised to give our skin a good base for the make up.

I've never used a primer before but we were all given some Porefessional (£23.50) to use and several hours later my make up was still intact so I can now see the benefits (pardon the pun) of a primer and all the make up brands seem to do their own version, so I will be looking further into these.

With the help of Amy-Lou and each other we selected the right shade of foundation for ourselves and we happily started to put our make up back on. I was introduced to a concealer called Boi-ing (£16.50) this is a product that you you can not only use as a concealer but also as a cover up for scars, birth marks and even tattoos.

You basically just keep patting it on and layering it up until you have the coverage you need. I was very interested in this as in the summer I do get slightly darker freckly patches under my eyes due to sun damage from my teens and twenties. I'm much more careful about sun exposure now but this could be a could product to try again I think. It comes in 3 shades simply called 01,02 & 03.

We all seemed to like the product Hervana (£23.50) which is a blush made of a swirl of individual shades. You can swoosh your brush around them all or use individually. On the day we used this not just as a blush bit as eye shadow to - I do like a product that can double up.

This is a very good version of my concentration face...
The big wow product of the day for me was the mascara called They're Real! (£18.50) I know Benefit products aren't the cheapest out there, but when I tried that mascara I was so so so impressed. When I think of the times I've spent £7,£8,£9 on a mascara and been dissapointed. I will be adding this mascara to my make up bag at some point as it will be money well spent.

We also looked at eyebrows and were shown how to get a perfect arch....

 And so to finishing the look with lipstick! I appreciate that I'm quite particular with my lipstick, I want a good red shade that is quite a matt finish. That's just what I've come to like and feel it works for me.I did though try a few different shades of lipstick but I still came back to red and Amy-Lou was fab at getting different reds for me to try.

Check out my eyelashes!
 We settled on the shade 'flirt Alert' which was a lovely shade of red. The chaps of Norwich seemed to agree because on the way home four randoms said hello to me and another blew me a kiss! May be it was the lipstick, may be Norwich had won at home and everyone was in high spirits! Who knows!

The Benefit masterclasses are £50 which is redeemable against any products purchased on the day. We were talked through the products during the session but not in a selling way, it was all very relaxed and informal. If you are thinking of topping up your make up bag or you have a special occasion then this would be a good way to get more for your money. Or they could make a nice gift to give someone. There were a lot of make up hints and tips along the way.

You can find more information on Benefit products on the Benefit website

If you are in Norwich or you're planning a visit you can follow Benefit Norwich on Facebook which has all the contact details if you'd like to book a masterclass.

Alternatively you can just pop in store and say hello. You can find the Benefit Boutique on the ground floor at Debenhams (the entrance opposite Clarks)
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Boats, trains and lipstick mobiles

Happy belated Valentine's Day! How was it for you? Personally I like the fact there’s a day when the whole world is actively encouraged to show a little love. Yes I think every day should be filled with romantic and good old nice gestures but often they're not. If you happen to be with someone who isn't a natural romantic then they’re probably grateful to be given some assistance on how, what and when to do it!

I was planning to do a mid-week love link to what I've enjoyed reading online lately, but I've simply been overwhelmed with activities and events to do much reading so I only have that partly written - I will be making a ginormous pot of tea and catching up with all the interesting things people have been writing about shortly, which of course I will then pass on to you.

So what have I been up to? Well, I was lucky enough to attend a Benefit masterclass and play with lots of make-up (bliss!) but I shall write a separate post on that so I can show you oodles of pictures. I also attended A Most Curious Wedding Fair with The Historical Sauces…..

We were there with our pop up reading room which as usual was chock-full with books for folks to grab some free inspiration from. That’s always a popular feature, people just love to be able to sit down and relax away from the hustle and bustle of the fair. This time we also set up a glamorous boudoir. Gemma brought along her beautiful dressing table which we used to make a dazzling display of the Besame lipsticks and the What Katie Did seamed stockings and tights we had for sale.

Picture Courtesy of Retro Chick
We had a lovely time and it was super getting to meet lots of visitors, some planning weddings, some planning parties. There were lots of interesting ideas in people heads and we're  excited about being able to help some of those ideas become a reality. I didn’t get a chance to see much of the fair but there was lots going on. Fashion shows, activities, workshops…. Speaking of which, we gave talks on getting the perfect pout and vintage lingerie. I know some of you arrived too late and missed us, I’m so sorry! We're thinking that next time we will need to run more than two talks a day to give your more opportunity to swing by.

On the day we were also on hand for one to one lipstick workshops. Talking you through lipstick shades, how to apply and make the most of your lipstick all day long. You may have seen a previous post where I oohed and ahhhed over my latest find – a gold tea trolley? Well, we are The Historical Sauces and we do like  to make everything we do interesting so on the day that little tea trolley that had stood unloved and quivering outside a charity shop in the bitter cold was given a stylish makeover and became a much admired lipstick workstation.

When the trolley isn't being our glam assistant, she will be living in the kitchen providing storage for cook books. It feels good to give something old and overlooked a whole new lease of life. To celebrate our amazing day and Lucy’s 21st birthday (cough cough) we went on a boat picnic. In February.... which may sound a little traumatic but it was such a giggle. We caught a train to the Norfolk Broads then boarded our little boat armed with picnic baskets, flasks, mittens, hats, ear muffs, scarves, cava and gin. All those little life essentials to keep you warm, well fed and watered.

Despite the broads looking a little like the Antarctic with big chunks of ice in the water and many jokes about Titanic in a boat that was actually teeny tiny, we sailed/chugged away in to the wilds of the broads where it then rained. Hard. Fortunately the boat had its own rain hat so we pulled up its little hood and carried on. Doing anything that involved movement was not easy when you had a life jacket over 4 layers of clothing and a big faux fur coat as shown here…

Picture courtesy of Retro Chick. * No Sauce was harmed in the making of these pictures, despite it looking like I am about to be strangled.....
Thank you Mr Chick for taking the above series of boat photos. I'm sure herding cats would have been easier!

Hope you're all having a good week so far. It's Wednesday, we are alomost at the weekend again people. Hang on in there!
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Fluffy Glamour

I like Kelly Brook's style, she is generally an all-round gorgeous girl. She was named as a style icon in my recent blog give away so I thought I do a little feature about her, but then I stumbled across some fluffy mules that are part of her collection for New Look, so I thought I'd do a feature about those instead! Look at these beauties........ (I'd *love* a pair)

New Look £19.99 (also available in pink and red)
I stumbled across these as I was doing some research on vintage style night wear. Aren't they just so glam! I do not wear slippers. I personally do not like slippers but these are something else! So Hollywood glam, so oh la la. Possibly a little camp for some tastes but who cares?! Once that front door is shut and you’re in your own home, what's wrong with swooshing around the house like you're Jean Harlow. Swooshing is highly underrated.

Days are not always as special as we'd like. Life is stressful and busy, sometimes it's good to inject yourself with a bit of glamour - just because you can. How you get that is up to you. May be it's a good red lipstick, some gorgeous shoes that hurt your feet but you love them anyway or maybe it's throwing on some fluffy mules and a gown just to sit around at home and watch the TV.  Here I am ordering a pizza....

Okay, you may have guessed that’s not me but you get my point? For now my slipperless feet must leave you. I'm at a vintage wedding fair on Saturday with The Historical Sauces so I am still preparing and organising myself for it (when not getting distracted by fluffy slippers.......)

If anyone is in Norfolk on Saturday or you know any brides to be that are, then do have a look at this link, it should be a good event and of course I will report back with pictures! We are actually giving little talks on lipstick and lingerie so wish us luck!

Oh and one final shameless plug  ;O).......... I've been interviewed by the lovely Kate at Your Vintage Life. I discuss the fifties, if you haven't taken a look yet then pop over and have a read. Feel free to let me know what you think. I found the questions really interesting; they certainly gave me an opportunity to talk about the things that often get over looked in that decade.

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