Sunday, 14 April 2013

Ladies Time with Lucille Needles

Good afternoon and welcome to Cooking with Rita, I'm your host, Rita Cooking and today on cooking with Rita, I have the pleasure to have with me one - if not the - finest vintage stylists and hairdressers working today, and may I say one of the most stylish women I have ever met; Lucille Needles.

Ready to do some baking then? Today we're going to make some lovely little fairy cakes. So if you could just pop your pinny on dear, that's right, and wash your hands... I can just imagine all the muck those hands get on them from running them threw all that hair dear... That reminds me, check for lice!

Righty oh,  have you baked before dear? Yes, good… Ok then I’ll start the cakes, you pop the oven on to Gas Mark 4.

So dear, I couldn’t help but notice your perfectly coiffered hair and elegant attire, so what came first? The look, or the hairdressing?

"It all started with a circle skirt….sounds rather like a song, no?! But yes, the look came first. A vast quantity of original numbers followed that first skirt I purchased from Oxfam. Back then, I never thought I could EVER look like those broads on the front of peekaboo magazine. Once I learnt how to wear highwaists and bullet bras without looking like a fancy dress victim and braved the negative and somewhat bizarre comments I’d get thrown at me in the street (this was before Vintage became ‘fashionable’) I used to sit myself down in front of my mirror armed with hair pins and hairspray, and not move until I resembled Betty Grable. Some nights I was there a lonnnggg time. It’s alright doing a Victory roll, but getting  the perfect fluffy curls after brushing out pincurls is an art. Which I have now mastered."

You certainly have, I must get some tips after we finish, I have terrible trouble getting my perm to hold, I went out on a blustery day and came back looking akin to Kieth Harris! Now, can you see dear, I’m now adding the 30z of  butter to a saucepan to melt, that's it... Now can you measure me out 9oz of caster sugar dear, the scales are on the side there… there… no to your left… a bit more… that’s it… Have you been drinking dear? I swear I could smell sherry went you came in...

Thank you, that took some doing, now we’re going to add this and while I mix in the 2fl oz of sunflour oil, 1oz of arrowroot and vanilla extract and while you give it a jolly good whisk, I’ll ask who inspires you on both fronts, style and hairdressing?  

"My first Assessor and hairdresser ‘Mum’ is who I have to thank for the hairdresser etiquette which you don’t get taught in college. She took me under her wing and I learnt the little extras that can make the difference between a haircut and a complete experience. Now it’s ingrained into me and I make sure every client has the best experience possible whenever the Lucille’s Locks mobile shows up at their door.

Style wise, there are 3 key women who I regard as the ‘supergroup’  These are; DVT, Carmen Miranda and Diana Dors. They are your go to whenever you are having a fashion nightmare. I find myself thinking,  “what would Diana do??” As well as this trio  I like to surround myself by inspiration. For example, I am sat with my laptop writing this interview nestled between a bookcase of showgirl DVDs, a large framed photograph of ballet dancers and my art deco dresser."  

 You’ve only got to pick up an old photo from 20s-50s and you can be certain that the lady will have a hairstyle to make you swoon. (The men too!) So in that sense, I guess I get my hair inspiration from complete strangers, who I cannot name."

Swoon dear? I haven’t swooned since I started the menopause! Right let's get this whipped. That’s it dear, get stuck in, well done, good wrist action my girl. Ok, so now add the eggs, 4 of them, then the 2 ½ floz of cream and 3 ½ fl oz of milk and give it a good whisk again. Good girl, best way of getting rid of those bingo wings is a bloody good whisk! 
Now dear, when you sat down at the beginning there I noticed something on your leg. Have you been drawing on yourself?

"I haven’t, but somebody else has! That Lucille Ball you see poking out from under my tea dress is from the best tattoo artist in the world,  although I am heavily biased as he happens to be my other half! If you were to cheekily lift my skirt higher, you would see more of his work mingled in with flowers, feathers, fans, birds, butterflies collected from various artists along our travels. Wherever we visit we try and get a little something significant of our stay."

Well it looks simply divine on you, but if you don’t mind, I think I’ll stick to postcards and crosswords. Anyway how’s the mixture doing?

Oooh lovely! Perfect consistency, but, oh no, you’ve got some mix on your lovely dress, and shoes, on your eyebrows and oh - hair! Oh crikey darling, you seemed to have got it everywhere! Look, you go and get cleaned up and I’ll sift the 10 ½ oz flour and 3tsp baking powder and gradually mix it in.

Now on the computer, you have a very successful ‘blog’ is it? Where you  give wonderful hair tips and talk about your clothes… I also noted that you were selling some of your clothes online. Bit hard up are you, sweetness? Because I’m not paying you for this...

"I was pretty much forced to start a blog by friends and family and at first I felt so ridiculous typing away to an empty followers box.  Daily I’d read the blogs that popped up on my news read and thought of the ladies behind the computer as such idols and when my first comment came I squealed with joy and eagerly got onto writing my next post. My first celebrity moment came when I got recognised in a bar by a blog follower (who is now a good friend) and after that I got emails asking for interviews, clothing sent to me to be reviewed and even appeared in local newspapers."

Free clothing? Every young lady's dream!

OK, I’ll just fill the cupcake cases and pop them in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, while we relax we a spot of tea. Pop the kettle on sweetness, you can handle that can’t you dear? So who are your best clients at the hairdressers then? Have you ever styled anyone famous?  

"All Lucille’s Locks Ladies are the best clients! No, honestly, I enjoy every single one. They each have different stories to tell me when I’m round and they keep me full of tea and biscuits. As for famous, well I have Carrie Anne the dita tribute burlesquer now on my books."

I’m sure you will dear, I’m very sure you will. So now, you have to tell me about your darling little co-star on your blog, she’s such a sweetheart! 

"I run the risk of sounding like a lady who would appear on a channel 4 documentary about being in love with their pet here, but what the hell - Inka is my pride and joy and my best friend. When my girlfriends come round, Inka is always included in any activity, earning her place as one of the ‘girls’.  I rescued her from a one-bedroomed flat when she was 2 years old."

Oh, that’s lovely dear! You know, I had a shih tzu name Daphne a few years back, I found her starving, living in a bin in the high street, oh yes, I took her home and fed her, washed her and gave her as much love as I could. Until she pee-ed on my Persian rug that is, I had to put her back after that, but you know what? Her bin was still there, so it wasn’t as if I was being cruel.

So does Inka like getting dressed up too?

"Well that depends on what she is getting dressed up for. She needs an occasion and some place to show off. Roads trips, pub lunches, photoshoots, blog appearances, bike rides and garden parties: Yes. Running circles around me and howling at strangers in Wollaton Park: No."

Anyway let’s get on with the frosting, I think we’ll rely on packets for this one sweetie, to save your blushes.  I thought we could add some pink food colouring to it to give it some pizzaz. Talking of pink, I couldn’t help noticing your… ahem… hair! How do you get it to do that dear?

"What you see on top of my head is my advertising. I’d never even think to leave the house without it looking perfect- who wants a hairdresser with bad hair??!"

Ok, time to take the cakes out and cool them before we add the frosting, so I’ve got time for one more question. Who, if it could be anyone in the world, who would you desperately like to re-style?

"Forget anyone famous, the streets are full of people I would like to drag to one side and whisper in their ear ‘let me help you!!’"

Well darling, it was an absolute pleasure to have met and baked with you, and I’m sure that stain will easily come out with a bit of lemon juice and an abrasive sponge.

So, goodbye ladies, from me and Ms Needles. Happy baking, next week I’ll be making a cheese soufflĂ© with Dita Von Teese, let’s hope she’s good at folding eh?

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