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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Hollywood's Original Blond Bombshell: Jean Harlow

Harlean Harlow Carpenter (March 3, 1911 – June 7, 1937) was an American film actress and sex symbol of the 1930s. She lived a complicated life, adored and dead by the age of 26, as a result of acute renal failure. 

Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, she moved with her mother to Los Angeles as a child after her parents separated.  At age five, she contracted meningitis and suffered from scarlet fever at age 15. 

She started to pursue a career as an actress from an early age and in 1932 she was signed to MGM by Paul Bern, who bought her contract from maverick film producer Howard Hughes for $30,000. 

In an acting career that lasted 10 short years, Jean made 36 movies. Interestingly enough, the now commonly used 'platinum blonde' expression was coined by Howard Hughes as a moniker  to promote Harlow’s image.

The First Tattooed Women

Olive  Oatman, 1858
According to various sources, the first ever tattooed woman was  Olive Oatman, a white Native American captive with a chin tattoo.

She was captured and enslaved by the Tolkepayas, after the massacre of her family in 1851, in today's Arizona, when she was fourteen. Her seven-year-old sister Mary Ann was also captured.

Later, Olive was sold to the Mohave people who in keeping with their tribal customs gave her a chin tattoo. She was ransomed back to the whites in 1856. 

Olive became a celebrity in her day, embarking on a lecture tour promoting a book that Rev. Royal B. Stratton wrote about her ordeal, The Captivity of the Oatman Girls. 

Margot Mifflin has written a book based on historical records, including letters and diaries of Oatman’s friends and relatives. The Blue Tattoo is the first book to examine her life from her childhood in Illinois, through the massacre, her captivity, and her return to white society, to her later years as a wealthy banker’s wife in Texas. This Bison Books edition features a postscript by the author with a newly discovered letter from Oatman.  

Maud Wagner , 1911
Maud Wagner was another famous tattooed woman and also the first known woman tattoo artist in the United States. She was born Maud Stevens in February 1877 in Lyons County, Kansas, and was married to  Gus Wagner who gave her her  first tattoo when she met him in 1904 at the St Louis World's Fair. In 1907, Maud Wagner traded a date with her husband-to-be for tattoo lessons and that's how it all started.

Fashion: By the 1920s, tattoos were seen as seriously stylish, including by this woman seen being inked by legendary Bowery tattooist Charlie Wagner
1920s:  Famous tattooist Charlie Wagner

Painted lady: Women with extensive tattoos, such as this one, were often to be found in travelling circuses during the 1920s
Another 1920s image from new book Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo

Monday, 22 April 2013

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries are no longer married

Los Angeles judge has approved a divorce settlement between Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries after 536 days of acrymony. 

The details of the settlement have not been revealed. However, it is rumoured that Kim did not have to pay any costs. Humphries  initially demanded an annulment and  a payout of $7000,000 for damages, stating that the marriage was a publicity stunt planned by Kim and her mother/manager Kris Jenner. Something the Kardashians have always denied, for obvious reasons. 

Kim and Kris as a 'happy couple'
Humphries was not present when the case was  heard and Kardashian only spoke to declare that she understood the terms of the settlement.  

Kim filed for divorce after just 72 days stating irreconcilable differences. During an interview, she told Oprah: “It could be small things or little things. You know when you just have that feeling that he’s the one. When we moved in together I just had that feeling that he’s not that one.”

   Kim is now free to marry her new beau Kanye

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Cheese and Thyme Scones


250g plain white flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
85g butter or margarine
115g grated cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons dried thyme
buttermilk (half a cup milk and 1 tea spoon lemon juice left to stand for 5 minutes before use)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or a fork until it is the size of peas. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the buttermilk, cheese and thyme into the bowl. Gently mix until a soft dough forms.

Roll or pat out on a floured surface to 3/4 inch thick. Cut into circles and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms of the biscuits are golden brown.