Saturday, 2 February 2013

"Oh Beehave .."

     I stumbled across these two women in a documentary we were watching and was in absolute awe of the lady on the lefts hair, so much so that I had to try and photograph her for posterity. I wonder how much hair lacquer (using a word long since discarded and used frequently by my nan) she got through in a week? Andy rightly pointed out what a fire hazard she was too ..


It then got me to thinking about the hair and make up regime of my nan. She didn't have a sit down dressing table, hers had drawers to the floor and four small ones either side, so she would kneel on the floor. I always remember the two big drawers would hold bedding and the top drawer to the left held candles for the blackouts, despite there not being any at that time but I suppose habits are hard to break and the right top drawer held handkerchiefs. Anyway, she would kneel before the dressing table and would apply pancake from a small tube and powder, then bright red lipstick.  Her hair would be teased upward and then liberally dowsed in hair lacquer, of which there was always a large tin to hand. If it was a daytime outing she would put on one of the chiffon hair scarves I now have and would always tie them in a knot under her chin, tucking the ends in neatly and the scarf would be held in place on the sides by hair grips which lived in a little fake tortoiseshell box, while the back would flap about in a peak over her huge hair! I saw, in a drama about Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, an old lady in a white chiffon scarf, sans false teeth, heckling the pair as they were taken away, "Bleeders! Bleeders!" she yelled. Now there's another word you don't hear too much of these days. My nan's one was "Beggar orf!"
 And the fake tortoiseshell box, well that is now mine and still used for the same purpose -



Did your mum, nan or even older sister have a steadfast beauty regime?
And what are some words or phrases your family used that you don't hear so much of these days. I was in my hometown of Portsmouth a few years back and passed by a man calling his son a dinlo which made me laugh to myself, as I hadn't heard the word since I was little; I used to hear it all the time. It's even on a map of slang in the city museum.

DINLO
Dinlo is a term used in the Portsmouth area for someone who is thick or stupid, perhaps of naval origin. Derivatives: Dinney 
"Shut your face you dinlo", "When I said that they all looked at me as if I was being dinney"


20 comments:

  1. Oh I love this post Melanie:). Those two women are incredible - yet what amazes me is how quickly women used to get their hair up in a beehive ... then it stayed there!! Sadly, my mum didn't have a beauty regime, she was one to dab on some rose-pink lippy and a wee bit of power ... MUCH to my disappointment as a child! I find it interesting when Bella's friends pop over and a couple of their mums don't wear make-up, so they like to watch me put me slap on before we go out. It's really cute to see their faces watching:)). xo

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    1. I'm glad you liked it, it was fun to write.
      Aren't they just fabulous, I just had to share :) I was always very aware of my nan's big hair, which was dyed jet black to boot, I thought it looked like a crash helmet as a kiddie! I don't think my mum wore much make up, but then I didn't live with her to know, which is why I was very aware of what my nan did. You're going to have given Bella some very lovely memories of her mum and those kiddies shall soon be pootling about looking like mini yous!
      xxx

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  2. What a fab read, Melanie, you brought your Nan to life so vividly, I can almost hear and see her for myself. I love that ladies' beehive!
    My Mum used to pride herself on having the biggest beehive in Walsall, she claimed she could hide a 12 in ruler in it. She never used lacquer, it was a home mix of sugar and water, washed out by a hairdresser once a fortnight. A veritable wasp magnet!
    When I was growing up chiffon scarves would hang up in shop changing cubicles to stop customers dirtying the clothes with their beige panstick foundation.
    In the Black Country we call the great unwashed, scratchers or by the colloquial term, scratters! xxx

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    1. I'm pleased you liked it! I don't have a more recent picture of my nan scanned, I only have the ones from the fifties, the more recent ones, the seventies ones it's hard to say what is her make up and what is the aging of the picture, heh, but I would have put one up otherwise.
      I would love to see your mum's beehive, I bet she was the bees knees if you'll excuse the pun! I never knew they used scarves for that purpose, it's quite ingenious really . Scratters is a great word xxx

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  3. What a lovely image of your nan. Lovely fake tortoiseshell box - we had a cylindrical vase in our bathroom for years when I was a kid. x

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    1. Her hair was never as big as the ladies in the picture but it seemed pretty big from where I was sitting! I'm really pleased I managed to save the little box, it may have a broken hinge, but it's so evocative of the time x

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  4. Amazing photo, and what evocative memories of your nan. My mum wasn't (and isn't) interested in hair or makeup, she thinks all that nonsense is very frivolous! But I do recall her putting powder on and a bit of lippy, and always, always blotting it on a bit of loo roll afterwards! And she wore headscarves in the 1960s and early 70s, and always tucked the ends in! I remember watching her get dressed in the 60s when she wore a roll-on girdle with suspenders on the bottom, I was fascinated by the suspender fastenings.
    Like Vix, I remember scarves in changing rooms to protect the clothes.
    How lovely to still have the little box for your hairpins. xxxx

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    1. Ahh yes, the loo roll blotting! My mum used to wear headscarves too, if my memory serves me correctly, but she tied it under her hair, peasant style which is something I did as a little one too. I've ever seen one of those girdles, but I remember finding a single black silk stocking in the bottom of her wardrobe and thought how incredibly glamorous and could never imagine her being that glam!
      When my nan's house was cleared when she died, I knew instinctively that I had to have the box and her fabulous red and white cardi xxxxx

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  5. That womans hair is epic! Sometimes I consider trying out a beehive, but I fear it will collapse part way during the day. I'm from a farming family, so my mum rarely wore make up. One of my aunts was always beautifully made up though. She was my dads baby sister & was only 11 years older than me so I always thought she was the coolest!!

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    1. Isn't it just! I would love to give a proper beehive a go but simply don't have the length of hair to do it justice.

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  6. This is so lovely to read, picturing your Nan is so easy with the way you describe it. That hair really is incredible! I have yet to attempt a massive beehive.
    As a little girl I coveted my grandmothers dressing table and would visit it every time I saw her. Its about 5 ft wide, with 3 x 3 drawers under the table, all long and low, with a mirror the full width of it, I had never seen such a large mirror. She kept the table surface pristine, decorated with a little pot pourri jar and doilies etc in the middle. She gave me this dream dressing table when I was a teen and I will never part with it. It's slightly messier than she used to keep it though...

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    1. It's so lovely that you have your grandmothers dressing table! I would have loved my Nan's but we had nowhere to put it so it had to be left behind which was heartbreaking.

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  7. This blog conjured up images of my mum getting ready to go out too Melanie. She always had quite a natural look, being a country girl she never really went in for too much make up, but she often wore a chiffon scarf around her hair or neck, and her room was full of big old furniture with a dressing table and mirror. I remember being envious of friends who had modern 70's furniture but now I have a lot of the same old furniture in mine and Pat's room. The little tortoiseshell box is lovely too. Our word for someone daft was a div or a divvy. xx

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    1. I loved the furniture in my nan's room, she had a wonderful tallboy too which would be so handy but alas there was simply no room.

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  8. My Nan was very particular about her appearance and never ever went out without powdering her nose and putting her lipstick on. She always always moisturized too which is something I learned from her, ask any of my friends doesn't matter how tired, ill or drunk I am I always take off my make-up and moisturize!

    I still call umbrellas 'umbergamps' (Gamp being a Kentish word for an umbrella) and if it looks like it's about to rain the sky looks very 'Omnibus' she once overheard an old lady call it that and thought it was so funny she always used it. The one thing I regret is never writing down all the sayings she had because she had one for every occasion and they were ace. I can hardly remember any of them now.

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    1. Good on you for being so disciplined! I am terrible at remembering to take make up off, but I tell myself it's because I don't wear it that often so it isn't a habit I ever got in too. Heh, I love those sayings! I often think I should write memories and what not down while I still remember them as they do drift from your mind so easily.

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  9. My mom has always been a show-stopping beauty, and has followed a certain routine of applying her war paint and styling her blonde locks. As a child I loved to lay stretched out on my stomach on her bed and watch her get ready in the morning. If I ever have a daughter, I hope she enjoys watching her mom applying lipstick, setting her hair, etc as well.


    ♥ Jessica

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    1. What a nice image that conjures, I hope you get your wish xxx

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  10. I don't remember any particular beauty routines from my Mum or Nan at all! Isn't that sad! I liked hearing about all your memories and Dinlo is a great word (again, I don't think there's any particular dialect!). Sigh!

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    1. Well I don't recall any of my mum's, I just wasn't around when she did those sorts of things .. not even sure if she wore make up.

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