Thursday, February 11, 2016

Beauty Secrets of the Ancient Egyptians

Find out body and hair care secrets the ancient Egyptians used!

In ancient times in no other country like Egypt, was the concern with body and hair care so extensive. Cleopatra VII wrote a book of beauty secrets, because she was a master of this art. Even today eye makeup styles based on the ancient Egyptian technique are still popular.

Body care

Body care was a common daily ritual. The ancient Egyptians used body scents for fumigation and flavouring of the body. Women and men also used body oils. They provided skin protection and moisturizing effect in a hot climate. They worried about weight gain and hair loss. The ancient manuscript is entitled «How to Make the Old Young». Such a book could be a best-seller today.
Hair Care
As we know, many of the ancient Egyptians wore wigs. It was aimed not only to create a look of beautiful hair, but also to protect people from the heat of the sun. Their own hair was often dyed with henna and braided. They liked to adorn it with lotus flowers, gold tubes, ribbons, petals and berries. Researchers have discovered that people used over 20 aromatic oils not only for body but also for hair care.
Make up
Both men and women wore makeup to be more attractive. Their makeup techniques made the natural beauty of the face more expressive. They mixed different ingredients with fats and waxes to make the cosmetics. The egyptians colored the lashes, brows and applied eyeshadow around the eyes. They used different pigments such as malachite to outline the eyes, galena or lead sulfide so-called kohl as the eyeliner, the spice saffron as the eyeshadow. Red ochre and wine helped to add color to lips and cheeks.

So, we can copy a lot from the ancient Egyptians. First of all, their regular application of natural oils for body and hair care.

This is a guest post from Viki Howell. More tips for your beauty here


Friday, January 29, 2016

The scandalous life of Queen of Navarre and France - Margaret de Valois

Marguerite de Valois
1553 - 1615

The daughter of Queen Catherine de Medici and King Henry II, she was born a Princess of France, and through marriage, she rose to the rank of Queen of France and Queen of Navarre. Like her bold mother, Margaret was no shrinking violet. She was strong and independent, with a zest for high fashion. At a very young age, she fell in love with Henry I, Duke of Guise. 

While her parents were arranging a political marriage for her with her distant cousin, King Henry III of Navarre, (everyone was called Henry in those days) they discovered her clandestine relationship with Guise. So in bold Catherine de Medici style, she had her daughter hauled from her bed and had her soundly beaten. 

Margaret's marriage to her distant cousin would prove to be a challenge right from the start. You see, in France, there were plenty of struggles between the Catholics and the Huguenots (Protestants) and her new husband was definitely, but quietly, Huguenot. A royal wedding draws great crowds, and both Catholics and Huguenots gathered. Assassinations and mob violence ensued. Between 5,000 and 30,000 people throughout France lost their lives that day. Not an auspicious beginning for the young married couple. During the massacre which lasted nearly a week, Margaret saved numerous lives, including that of her new husband.  

Nevertheless, Marguerite soon figured out that marriage need not prevent her from pursuing the life she dreamed of. A true beauty who was obsessed with her appearance and clothes, she adopted and indulged in a wanton, debauched lifestyle, taking on and discarding lovers as swiftly as shedding her clothes. 

Her brother, the new king Henry III, was so scandalized by her her licentious behavior and sinful reputation, he banished her from his court and had her imprisoned in a castle, but amid the luxury she had always been used to. Later, her husband would extend her imprisonment and divorce her. She wrote her own memoirs which were published after her death. When she died she was buried in the funerary chapel of the Valois in the Basilica of St Denis, but her remains are subsequently missing. No one knows where they are, but it is believed that either her body went missing during renovations or that they were destroyed during the French Revolution. 

Author Sophie Perinot has penned a beautiful novel of Margaret's life entitled MEDICI'S DAUGHTER. 

Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot's intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.
Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot's heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother's schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot's wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.
Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.

This is a story of love, passion, intrigue, betrayal, and cruel violence - a true representation of this turbulent time in history. Plenty has been written about Catherine de Medici, so I found it incredibly fascinating to read about her daughter and the struggles she would have had living under her mother's controlling thumb. I quite enjoyed learning some of the machinations and descriptions of the The St Bartholemew's Day Massacre. The author did an outstanding job in bringing this turbulence to life in a very realistic and easy to understand fashion. 

Although Margaret de Valois has been much maligned throughout history, I liked how her motivations were presented and it helped to understand some of the hard choices Margaret had to make to survive in the tumultuous French and Italian courts. 

Everything about this story appealed to me - the era, the political climate, and the religious difficulties facing France and the French people. This fictional account of her life was well rendered and magically delivered. Definitely recommended!

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Rise and Fall of a Warrior Queen!

At an early age, Zenobia was placed in charge of her family's sheep. Somehow this translated into giving her the experience of ruling over men, at least according to legend. She could ride like the wind, out-drink most men, hunt, and march long distances with little effort! An ancestor of Cleopatra, Zenobia had a genius mind, able to outwit and outsmart most men of her time. After winning several military battles, her husband was made governor, but was later assassinated. That's when Zenobia stopped being the woman behind the successful man and took the rains of power for herself. The historian Richard Stoneman described this period of her life:

"During the five years after the death Odaenthus in 267 CE, Zenobia had established herself in the minds of her people as mistress of the East. Housed in a palace that was just one of the many splendors of one of the most magnificent cities of the East, surrounded by a court of philosophers and writers, waited on by aged eunuchs, and clad in the finest silk brocades that Antioch or Damascus could supply, she inherited also both the reputation of Odaenthus' military successes and the reality of the highly effective Bedouin soldiers. With both might and influence on her side, she embarked on one of the most remarkable challenges to the sovereignty of Rome that had been seen even in that turbulent century. Rome, afflicted now by invasion from the barbarian north, had no strong man in the East to protect it...Syria was temporarily out of mind."

Very impressive for a pampered wealthy woman! However, in the end, she faced terrible defeat. There are many different accounts of her final days. Some state she was paraded through the streets of Rome as a bejewelled trophy for Aueralian's triumph parade, while others have her drowning with her son while being transported to Rome. Others say she escaped, or she poisoned herself, or was executed. Regardless, the story of her incredible life has fired the imaginations of countless historians throughout the centuries.

Author Libbie Hawker has gathered up a great deal of research and written a compelling recreation of Zenobia's life story in a novel entitled, DAUGHTER OF SAND AND STONE. 
Book Synopsis:  Zenobia, the proud daughter of a Syrian sheikh, refuses to marry against her will. She won’t submit to a lifetime of subservience. When her father dies, she sets out on her own, pursuing the power she believes to be her birthright, dreaming of the Roman Empire’s downfall and her ascendance to the throne. Defying her family, Zenobia arranges her own marriage to the most influential man in the city of Palmyra. But their union is anything but peaceful—his other wife begrudges the marriage and the birth of Zenobia’s son, and Zenobia finds herself ever more drawn to her guardsman, Zabdas. As war breaks out, she’s faced with terrible choices. From the decadent halls of Rome to the golden sands of Egypt, Zenobia fights for power, for love, and for her son. But will her hubris draw the wrath of the gods? Will she learn a “woman’s place,” or can she finally stake her claim as Empress of the East?


Daughter of Sand and Stone by Libbie Hawker is a novel about Zenobia, the famous warrior queen of Palmyra. She lived in the 3rd century, and it cannot be easy to successfully re-imagine her life, but Libby Hawker has done just that, and who doesn't love a story about a strong woman thrust into a man's world who must fight not only for her survival, but also for her throne and kingdom. 

Zenobia's tale is a tad rags to riches, a tad coming of age, and a whole bunch of cunning! She not only conquered Egypt, she also posed a serious threat to great Roman army. Sadly, Zenobia's tale can also be considered tragic, and I think that's why this novel is an engrossing read. It offers a vivid portrayal of the realities of life and love, of hearth and home, of power and ambition in a most credible way. The author's level of research is evident in the vivid pictures she paints, her thought-provoking scenes, and the joy of reading the elegant prose.

This is a wonderful historical biographical novel--one that I highly recommend.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

10 Year Old Eliza Spalding Warren - Survivor of The Whitman Massacre

Eliza was the daughter of Presbyterian Missionaries who survived the Whitman Massacre and subsequent capture by a violent band of Cayuse Indians. 

The Whitman Massacre took place on Nov. 29, 1847, at Waiilatpu, a Christian mission on the Walla Walla River. Fourteen residents of the mission were murdered by a disgruntled band of Cayuse Indians who blamed them for a measles epidemic that had killed many members of the tribe, and also feared that there were too many white settlers.

More than forty women and children, including Eliza Spalding, were taken captive by the Cayuse but were later ransomed by Peter Skene Ogden of the Hudson Bay Company. 

Although only ten years old at the time of the massacre, Eliza played a vital role. She was the only survivor who could speak Cause and understand her captors.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Atrocities of Ilsa Koch

Lurking behind the face of this pretty German girl named Ilsa Koch is pure evil incarnate. The wealthy wife of a high level Nazi officer, she had a lot of time on her hands. Instead of normal entertainments like shopping, dinner parties, or tea with the ladies, Ilsa would entertain herself at the concentration camp. She loved to watch the abuse of prisoners. Her delight progressed into things too gruesome for understanding. The camp became her playground, the prisoners her props. 

Many atrocities are attributed to this debauched woman - torture, murder, starvation, sexual enticement, and many more. Mostly, her claim to fame is she created ornaments from human skin, including shrunken heads and lampshades made from human skin, with which she decorated her home. Many Nazi socialites even gave her special orders for these baubles for their own homes. There many existing images of these objects on the internet, and I shall not post them here because the sight is too haunting and heartbreaking. 

After being prosecuted by the U.S. for personally selecting prisoners for murder, which she denied, she was sentenced to life in prison. Koch committed suicide at Aichach women's prison on 1 September 1967 at the age of 60 years. She never showed any remorse.  

Below is a comprehensive YouTube video worth watching. 

In memory of all the Jewish people who suffered at her hands and that of the Nazis, let us never forget!

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