Monday, 31 May 2010


Today is Mr TNMA's birthday. And I sent him two cards. One from the real me and one from That's Not My Age - sometimes I wonder about this blogging malarkey, first a wrist injury, then the next thing you know I'm borderline schizophrenic. Anyhow. This is one of the well-chosen cards from Hello Lucky, check out the website for a fine selection of gifts and stationery.

Talking of lovely printed things, I've had my eye on this Ros Shiers' illustration for a while. That's not his birthday present though.

And neither is this:

No. Mr That's Not My Age is now the proud owner of the latest Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook, Plenty, and a pestle and mortar. My friend says this is pure self-interest. It's a vegetarian cookbook, I'm a vegetarian. It's a cookbook, Mr TNMA does all the cooking. But I disagree. There are loads of recipes with tomatoes, and I hate tomatoes.

Guardian columnist and café owner, Ottolenghi is a genius by the way. Mr TNMA highly recommends his recipe books. For my birthday, I think the Blog Widower might buy me this fabulous print from self-proclaimed, illustration wizard Mr Bingo:

Got to go, my dinner's on the table!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Why the long skirt?

Now that the legs have gone all gorgonzola on me, I spend summer looking for ways to cover up and stay cool. Like camping and watching Wimbledon, hiding the varicose veins has become an annoying seasonal hobby. It's easy enough to ignore the not-so-thin blue lines if, like That's Not My Age, you live in jeans, trousers and black opaques for 90 per cent of the year but as soon as the sun shines I start to think how much simpler life would be if I could get my legs out. Every year I vow to get the ugly veins removed but that means paying to go private - and frankly I'd rather spend the money on something useful, like a holiday. Preferably to a Muslim country where I can keep myself covered up.

So, what to wear when your legs are passed their sell-by-date? The Capri pant and shirt combo looks chic but can be a little bit too snug when the temperature soars. And I quite like the idea of crumpled linen trousers, but who wants to look like they're wearing dirty laundry? So, a maxi is the perfect option. And like volcanic ash, the floor-skimming skirt is making an unexpected appearance on the radar this summer. Empty airports and waist to ankle coverage, now you're talking. The good thing about the maxi is it looks best with flat shoes. Team a full length skirt with heels, add a staircase and you're looking for trouble.

And long skirts definitely have that Martini factor. Wear with a slouchy grey marl t-shirt for pure casual glamour. I could wear the outfit (above) by L'Agence from Net-a-Porter all summer long. The photos of the lovely grey-haired lady are from The Times. Check out the 7 ways to wear a maxi skirt feature soon (there's also a video on the new website) because Rupert Murdoch's paywall is up and ready for action. You have been warned - he wants your money!

Now, just don't get me started on age spots.

PS What do you think about paying for online news?

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

J'adore Juliette Binoche

Today, That's Not My Age is feeling a special love for the fabulous Juliette Binoche. At Cannes, the 46 year-old looked pretty damn hot in a monochrome Givency jumpsuit, picked up the Best Actress award (for her role in Copie Conforme ) wearing a stunning Céline floor-length gown and gave a whole new meaning to the term statement necklace:

Proving that she can work her magic off-screen too, Binoche's elegant protest led to the release of Jafar Panahi, the imprisoned Iranian film director. Hoorah!

Hold onto your hats readers, because now things get really exciting. In today's Telegraph, the Parisienne beauty eschews Botox and reveals one of her best-kept beauty secrets: facialist, Su-Man Hsu, 'She does these facials that keep your face alive, so that it doesn't fall down dead, you know?' My face may not be dead yet but it's terminally ill. So, That's Not My Age was straight on the phone to the lovely Su-Man Hsu to book myself in for a session! S-MH doesn't have a salon or a website, all her clients are word-of-mouth, so I told her Juliette had sent me. Tune in next week to find out whether a Facial Booster Massage can breathe life into my sagging jowls.

A 90-minute facial massage with Su-Man Hsu costs £100 (07779 151 346)

Givenchy and Céline red carpet: MailOnline
Jafar Panahi: The Independent

Monday, 24 May 2010

Flowered Up

In honour of Chelsea Flower Show which kicks-off today, That's Not My Age presents you with a fabulous floral tribute:

Dolce & Gabbana catwalk photo:
Ballet pumps: French Sole
Sunglasses: asos
Necklace: Dune
Watering can: Liberty for Target

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Jarvis Cocker and the National Trust

Can't believe I haven't blogged about the lovely Jarvis Cocker, 46, before now, the Sheffield-born crooner is a genuine That's Not My Age hero. I could blather on for hours, but I won't. Suffice to say that when I saw Pulp play back in the nineties, Common People reduced me to tears. Now JC has produced what the National Trust's Visitor Experience Director, Tony Berry calls the ultimate chill-out album. Sounds recorded at properties like Brownsea Island and Ham House - birdsong, footsteps on gravel, lapping waves, creaking stairs - all act as aural souvenirs of a good old-fashioned day-trip.

'I hope this album is a holiday for the ears,' says the man who showed Michael Jackson his bum (Brit Awards, 1996, not the Neverland Ranch), 'something to have on in the background to aid relaxation or contemplation.'

Download it for free here

Quotes: Drowned in Sound

Thursday, 20 May 2010

England's Dreaming

That's not the World Cup. It's a commemorative mug from Marks & Spencer - but if all else fails at least we can buy one of these (just don't tell Lord Triesman). So, today, in honour of the beautiful game, I'm outing myself. Yes, dear readers, That's Not My Age is a football fan and here I am at the 1994 tournament in the USA. But that's not the real World Cup I'm holding...

Every four years, national stress levels rise as we watch our injury-prone team struggle through the biggest football tournament in the world (apart from 1994, when we didn't even make it to the finals) and supporters collectively pray for victory or at least a ticket to the second round. But once upon a time, the England squad were World Cup winners and in their very clever Four Legends, One Label campaign, M&S reunite - Gordon Banks, Martin Peters, Sir Geoff Hurst and Roger Hunt - players from the 1966 team. The boys are modelling the Collezione range, which is made in Italy and aimed at customers over 45 years-old, and very dapper they look too.

That's Not My Age and photographer friend, Neil Mackenzie Matthews, literally stumbled upon the M&S press conference yesterday and couldn't believe our luck. One minute we were wandering through Covent Garden talking cameras, the next we were being jostled into a room full of sports journalists, football legends and young Jamie Redknapp - who'd been assigned the task of interviewing 'these top guys.'

Neil being a true pro, quickly took his camera out and snapped three lovely portrait shots:

And here are my five World Cup facts:

1. In 1966 we had a fantastic team. The best goalkeeper, Mr Gordon Banks, and a very good manager. In 2010 we have a very good manager, Fabio Capello, who is similar to Sir Alf Ramsey and, er David James (who Gordon Banks says will be playing in goal).

2. Geoff Hurst thinks Capello is right to keep the WAGS at arm's length. In 1966, footballer's wives were warned by Sir Alf to stay out of the player's hotel (Ramsey even prodded Mrs Hurst in the chest to warn her off). Capello is a strict disciplinarian and won't stand for any Baden-Baden-style shenanigans.

3. England are quite capable of getting to the semi-finals, where they'll be up against the big boys - Brazil, Spain, Argentina. Geoff Hurst wants Wayne Rooney to score just the two goals so that his own record (the only player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final) stays intact.

4. Times have changed. In a bout of DIY sponsorship, players painted the three Adidas stripes on their boots the night before the 1966 final, made their own way home after the match and cup-winning, newspaper coverage was kept to the back pages. Today, even John Terry has a sponsorship deal, players are chauffeured around in fancy limousines and we've all seen Ashley Cole's sex texts.

5. The 2010 World Cup team suits are lightweight and easy to wear. The Carnaby Street-inspired sixties version was so heavy, players over-heated and begged Sir Alf to let them 'go casual.' The iron manager, insisted they stay buttoned up.

And this is the official FA suit the 2010 team will be wearing. It's made in England, designed by Timothy Everest MBE (to Fabio Capello's specification!), is a very flattering shape and has a lovely red lining. Everest says he's delighted with the suit which fits the brief perfectly, 'We wanted something that was representative of modern British style whilst feeling elegant and comfortable.'

More World Cup merchandise, not designed by Timothy Everest MBE:

A magical, musical tour bus. Wonder what tune it'll be playing on the way home?

Toast the champions with this giant beer glass. Handy markers help keep binge drinking at bay:

Show your allegiance in this eye-catching, World Cup one-piece.

Will football be coming home this summer - can England win the World Cup? And if they do, will you be wearing the soccer-lover's swimsuit?

Monday, 17 May 2010

Rockin' out or rocking chair?

Going to gigs is hard when you're over forty. As our recent trip to see Delphic in Brighton proved (they were ace by the way). Firstly, there's the ticketing conundrum. Having more money than your teenage self means that the extortionate price is not a problem, finding time to book tickets to see the latest hip band/be around for the Ticketmaster courier is. And when you do manage to drag your weary bones to the online ticket office, the tendency is to opt for bands playing venues with seats. So that's Bon Jovi at the O2, or jazz. Not so long ago, Mr & Mrs That's Not My Age went to our first jazz concert. Nice. Being part of a sophisticated, older crowd felt very grown-up, but I couldn't work out whether the rows of nodding grey heads were getting into the groove or dropping off.

Standing in a dark room with flashing strobe lights and banging tunes doesn't have the same appeal when you're stone-cold sober and have to get up for work in the morning. The key here is to drink lots of caffeine. Start with coffee and move on to a bottled beer with a Diet Coke chaser. You'll soon feel so bloated you won't want to drink anymore, or dance. Dancing is another problem the over-forties have to contend with. So, gently does it. Stick to an inoffensive sway, avoid the full-blown dad dance and do not under any circumstances raise the arms.

Then there's the whole down with the kids concept to negotiate. The brother in Manhattan is a snowboarder, a couple of years younger than me, he still likes to hit the slopes. I think this is wrong. He probably thinks his older sister should not be swanning around in broad daylight wearing a sparkly sequinned jacket. Arrested development is a funny thing.

Next find a quiet spot. Drunken youths with no spatial awareness can make the forty-something gig-goer grumpy. So try to ignore them and settle down somewhere between the mixing desk and the merchandise stand. Don't forget, if you intend to stay for the encore comfy shoes are a must and should you find yourself queuing for that garish band t-shirt, it's time to go home.

Oh and here are some lovely photos of Brighton:

Do you have any advice for a forty-something, gig-goer?

Friday, 14 May 2010

The grown-up guide to festivals: part 2

OK, I'm supposed to be getting ready to go to Brighton, right now! - so better make this a quick one. Just figuring out what to wear, and my inspirations are this gorgeous picture of Milla Jovovich in an old Emporio Armani campaign, photographed by the mega-talented Peter Lindbergh and Cecilia Chancellor rocking out in a 1993 issue of Elle magazine. That's Not My Age is probably about twenty years older than these two beautiful models, so I better tread carefully or I might end up looking like Courtney Love after a night on the ale.

Regular readers know that I occasionally dabble in a bit of rock chickery and so trying desperately hard not to look like a denim-clad cliché/ the oldest groupie in Brighton here's my outfit for the tonight's gig. OK, OK I said we were going to a festival - and we are - it's just that we're only staying one night and plan to see just one or two bands. Mr TNMA says he hates festivals because they go on too long and there are far too many people. And he's not wrong. So this is the perfect solution.

Don't you love my sequin blazer? A bargain at £50 (down from £195) in the Whistles sale, I've been trying to find the right occasion for months. During the day I'll be toning things down by throwing a military jacket over the top - love this image from Comptoir des Cotonniers, their mothers and daughters campaign is superb.

And I wish I had one of these cotton bird print scarves from Jigsaw:

That's Not My Age likes travelling light, so all I need now are a spare pair of knickers and another t-shirt. It's a toss up between this cute nautical stripe from Wildfox and a plain grey marl number from Diane von Furstenburg:

And that's all folks. Mr & Mrs TNMA have left the building!

Tee shirt photos from Matches.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The grown-up guide to festivals: part 1

Mr and Mrs That's Not My Age are off to a music festival. Fortunately, this one's not in a field, it's in a city: Brighton, and we're staying in a hotel. No tents, no wellies, no stinking toilets (at least I hope not) - just a couple of gigs and then off to bed, like proper grown-ups. The days when I could party like a rock star are well and truly behind me. Last time I went to Glastonbury really was the last time. It rained so much we aqua-planed across the motorway, skidded into the nearest town and queued for hours trying to buy some appropriate footwear. When my friend fell into a muddy ditch and spilled her pint down my welly, I knew it was time to go home.

But this weekend will be different.

We will know how to get to the venue and not have to hitch a ride with a stranger. We will not spend hours trudging through muddy battlefields, miss the band we wanted to see and end up watching any old crap (you know who you are Babyshambles). And I will not have to drink heavily in order to numb the pain of sleeping in a rickety tent. But what to wear? Don't want to look too try-hard, or mutton-y. It's guaranteed to be ten degrees cooler down on the coast, so I'll need layers but once we're in the mosh-pit things will certainly start to heat up! That's Not My Age knows that casual glamour (see below) is the way to go, but will it solve my festival fashion conundrum?

And do you have any suggestions?

Photo: Donald Christie

Monday, 10 May 2010

Home is where the art is

That's Not My Age is delighted to invite you into the lovely home of blog buddy, Semi Expat in Oz. Sarah Stubbs, 51, splits her time between an English country cottage and a modern house in Melbourne, Australia (where her husband currently works) - hence the blog name. As you can see, Sarah is an interiors expert, and has worked in retail for over 25 years. French antiques and vintage homewares are a speciality, the intercontinental home-lover enjoys trawling junk shops and flea markets and is a dab hand at furniture restoration. Vintage finds 'bought at brocantes (markets) in France at the crack of dawn,' are lovingly revitalised and sold at antique fairs around the country.

On the cottage mantlepiece, china tureens and decorative artichokes in pots are a permanent fixture, ' They're faux artichokes - I guess you'd call them fartichokes,' laughs Sarah, 'The line-up changes from season to season. I found the nest on a walk last year, lying in the middle of the lane in perfect condition, as if it had blown down from a tree.'

A rustic wooden table is accessorized with French draining plates and an ornamental dove, the combination of natural materials and charming ceramics giving the cottage a contemporary feel. When asked about the bird theme, Sarah admits, 'I hadn't really thought about it till you mentioned it, but I love bird's nests, maybe because of the life I lead - a few months in Australia and a few here in UK. Maybe I just want to settle or 'nest' in one place or the other!'

Antique French table and white china from Fontaine
Decorative bird: Indigo
Nest etching: Fiona Watson

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Easy Style

So, get this. That's Not My Age has had a virtual wish granted, a Rag & Bone concession has popped up at The Shop at Bluebird. When Anthropologie opened in autumn, I dreamed of the other American brands I'd like to see over here. Behold the Power of the Blog! Now I've experienced its supernatural properties, I'll be using them more often. In fact, I'm going to start right now with electoral reform. Nick Clegg you know what you've got to do - step away from the Tories and give Gordon Brown a call. You'll find him at Number 10.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. That's Not My Age is a big fan of low-key style. Simple, uncomplicated clothes that are easy to wear and effortlessly stylish are right up my strasse. Utility chic is a current obsession - an old khaki jacket from Muji has been doing the rounds recently - and I live in jeans and grey marl t-shirts. Which is why I'm pleased to see the Rag & Bone men, David Neville and Marcus Wainwright, have rocked up on our shores. It's just a shame their clothes are a bit on the pricey side - I have a pair of trousers purchased in New York (cheaper over there/where the British duo are based), and would like to add to the collection. Make that Blog Wish number two.

That's Not My Age's trademark look is casual with a twist. I'll slip a neatly tailored jacket over the t-shirt and jeans, add a mannish shoe or trainer - heels if it's a special occasion - and er, that's it. The problem with pared-down chic is that if you're not careful, it can end up looking bland, or too boyish. Which is why it's best to liven things up with a pair of diamanté earrings, an animal print scarf or some other form of embellishment. Bella Freud calls this casual glamour. Which I like. I also like this gorgeous jacket from Isabel Marant. Pure casual glamour:

And while I'm at it, how about this lovely Margaret Howell trouser suit? Perfect for summer but I'll leave the stripy tee, thank you very much. Got plenty of those already and That's Not My Age knows that greed is not good.

The queen of casual glamour is Phoebe Philo who has transformed Céline into the grown-up label du jour. Blog Wish number three is the entire S/S 10 collection, no sorry what was that about greed? Make that a pair of camel, bum-flattering trousers:

And the good thing about easy style is that you can find it on the high street. Uniqlo, Gap, Cos and Whistles are all good for simple basics. The key is to carefully select pieces from here and there to go with what you already have. Inexpensive jersey tops work with well-cut trousers, skinny military pants with a killer jacket. Take influence from the catwalk/magazines but don't go overboard, just add certain elements to your wardrobe to keep yourself looking au courant. And on that note, I'll leave you with the Goddess of Casual Glamour, the inimitable Jane Birkin, in dungarees!

Catwalk shots:
Phoebe Philo: David Simms
Jane Birkin: Harper's Bazaar