Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Quote of the week: Trinny & Susannah

'If you're having a nervous breakdown or going through a hideous divorce, a nice dress is not going to save your marriage or get you out of having a nervous breakdown. Maybe some great medication will. But because of the whole celebrity culture, the media perpetuating the need for women to be perfect and size zero, a lot of women feel very insecure, so in a way we're reacting against that, in the sense of saying, you know what? You don't need to lose three stone to be acceptable..... You don't need to have a tit job. We never, ever talk about weight or beauty or looks. We would never work with a size 16 woman and say, "Look, when you lose two stone then we'll dress you." We would never fucking do that. Because she is the size she is.'

Quote from The Guardian

Friday, 25 June 2010

I love the South London Gallery

Today, readers, I'm feeling very proud. My local art gallery has been given a fabulous makeover turning an area usually associated with Only Fools and Horses, Lorraine Chase and Status Quo into a proper London destination. Hip hip hooray! Built in 1891, the South London Gallery was designed as a 'gallery for the people' and that's still the case today. There are loads of art projects involving local families, artist's workshops and even a small community garden.

The beautiful Fox Garden (above) is home to a fine selection of foxgloves and we all know that the foxglove is the most stylish plant around. I'll be adding a few to the balcony area as soon as I can drag Mr TNMA down to the flower market. At the end of the garden, the Clore Studio is part of the new extension - as is the house next door, which has been elegantly restored adding extra gallery space and a pretty cushy flat for the artist in residence.

There's also a new café with a 24 carat gold leaf wall painting. I'd quite like something similar for That's Not My Age mansions. Totally bling-tastic. And the café's not bad either. We all know that friendly service and excellent food = a winning formula.

The combination of old and new architecture, and the urban setting is reflected in some of the artwork:

The latest exhibition, Nothing is Forever features 44-year-old artist, Fiona Banner's Black Hawk Down film script, hand-written in Indian ink on the wall. If I didn't have a blog, my walls would look just like this:

But my favourite piece has to be Yinka Shonibare's work on the side of a neighbouring tower block and visible from the gallery. The 48-year-old artist works in textiles using patterns associated with African dress - I'd like to think of this print as Peckham Paisley. Shonibare is the man responsible for Nelson's ship in a bottle (on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square) - he's even given HMS Victory batik sails.

All of this and free ice cream too (only for the opening weekend though, so get yourself down there on 26-27 June)

Nothing is Forever: 25 June - 5 September 2010
South London Gallery, 65 Peckham Road, London SE5 8UH

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Home is where the art is

And now brace yourselves for a world exclusive...That's Not My Age takes you behind the scenes at ace blogger, Disney Roller Girl's crib. Yes, a chance to see the office where one of London's top fashion bloggers gets to work. The style hub is a veritable showroom of mid-century design. Take for example the handy Uten.Silo above (Dorothee Becker, 1969), 'I like to be organised and I quite like collecting things, so I'm drawn to storage,' says DRG, ' and then people give me things and so I end up having even more to store!' Between you and me, I had noticed a somewhat unhealthy obsession with stationery, in fact just this week Roller Girl has tweeted twice about Sellotape! The plastic hold-it-all is a design classic, with lots of pockets, so it's the perfect place for office nick-nackery and Roller Girl's pen collection:

The place has fresh, modern vibe, white-washed walls highlighted with carefully selected artwork and primary coloured accessories. 'I'm always drawn to red, it's a classic colour, quite pop art - and very motivational for the office,' Roller Girl continues, 'though I'm still looking for the perfect red lipstick.'

This plastic storage tower was designed in 1970 by Shiro Kuramata for Capellini. Mr & Mrs DRG gifted it to themselves a couple of Christmas' ago, but it's more art piece than chest of drawers and the blogger is banned from using it for storage, 'Just think of all the pens I could put in there,' she sighs.

Disney Roller Girl's name reflects a fondness for Mickey Mouse and roller skating, 'I don't know where the Mickey Mouse obsession came from because I've never been to Disneyland. It's a bit of a travesty really,' says the souvenir collector, adding, ' I got really into Warhol and Americana at art school so I guess it's another pop art motif.'

In keeping with this theme, there's a fine selection of artwork including this gorgeous Eduardo Paolozzi print and a fantastic black and white photograph of Andy Warhol on wheels (a present from Mr DRG):

And tons of art books in the library area where DRG carries out her research and D (that's mister) keeps his extensive book/record collection and mid-century ceramics:

All-in-all, Roller Girl's hideaway is the epitome of urban cool. Stylish, 20th- century modern and smart. And if she ever wants to find a new home for her plastic furniture or art collection (the stuff on the wall, not the Mickey Mouse memorabilia), it'll fit in perfectly well at That's Not My Age mansions.

Do you like mid-century modern style? Are you a hoarder/collector? And where can Disney Roller Girl find the perfect red lipstick?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Ooh aah, Eric Cantona

Can't say I've ever got excited about a men's deodorant advertisement before but mid-life is one long, rocky dirt track of surprises. The current French team may have dramatically exited the World Cup but former player/poet turned actor, Eric Cantona, 44, has teamed up with L'Oréal Paris to launch a brand spanking new range of deodorants. England can keep their mascot, David Beckham and his M&S suit. That's Not My Age is more than happy with Monsieur Cantona and his sweet smelling armpits. Cantona is 'a man who understands the importance of keeping cool under extreme pressure.' A man who 'wants to take control of his life.' A man who may need the money from an anti-perspirant ad (?) And, in what is probably not his best poem ever, the football legend says:

Ooh, er!

So, in preparation for our holiday in France next week, I've very kindly bought Monsieur That's Not My Age a summer gift. No, not another pair of harem pants, some 48-hour anti-perspirant with NEW sweat captor technology so that he can smell fresh, intensely woody and just like Eric. Ooh la la!

Are you in complete control of your body, your sensations?

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Tales of the canalside

One thing I love about living in London is the fact that even though I've been here 20 years I'm always making new discoveries. Take yesterday for example. Mr & Mrs That's Not My Age went for a stroll eastwards along the Regent's Canal. Where Mr TNMA revealed that as a young slip of a lad he'd been to a party on a houseboat right here. Just back from a trip to Bali, the young Blog Widower was adorned in his favourite holiday purchase: a pair of red, white and blue patterned harem pants. I stifled a cackle and immediately changed the subject.

Further along the canal, we met the fabulously named, cookery writer, Lori De Mori who will be celebrating her 50th birthday this year. Lori De Mori (I just want to keep saying her name!) is owner of the Towpath café where Mr TNMA ordered a big fat sausage sandwich and a glass of rosé and I caught a whiff of a melted cheese sandwich just being taken out from under the grill. This happened to be Lori De Mori's lunch but being a gracious lady and canny business woman she very kindly offered it up to me. How could I refuse? Sorry, Lori De Mori. More raclet than Welsh Rarebit, the melted cheese sandwich was sensational. We could have stayed all afternoon eating homemade cakes, drinking beer and listening to live music at this lovely laid-back venue, but we had to be on our way.

Towpath has water side tables and chairs but we ate our lunch on this boat-type thingy and then carried on up the canal.

Being a northener, I'm fond of a run-down old warehouse, I find beauty in a derelict landscape.

But I love seeing the country in the city. Trees growing from cracks in walls, wild flowers against a graffiti backdrop:

We finished our journey at Mile End Park, which is lush and green and has its own wind turbine and borehole.

Have you ever made the mistake of buying holiday clothes on holiday?

And do you have a favourite al fresco dining spot?

Towpath, 42 De Beauvoir Crescent, London N1 (020 7254 7606)

Saturday, 19 June 2010

First Ladies and Football

South African jeweller, Pieter Erasmus, is a man with Swarovski crystal-studded credentials. That's Not My Age met him at London Fashion Week earlier this year where we had a very nice chat, he showed me his gems and let it slip that Michelle Obama had been spotted in a St.Erasmus hand-crafted necklace at The White House Correspondents' Dinner. Before setting up his own company, Mr.Erasmus worked for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Givenchy and Roberto Cavalli. Check out the brand new St.Erasmus website here.

This grow your own pitch/greetings card from Postcarden is the perfect gift for football lovers everywhere. The cardboard package comes with a packet of cress seeds, a football and a match programme. The cress may take about 2-3 days to sprout but if the woeful performances so far are anything to go by, it'll be more exciting than watching England play.

Alternatively, why not spend 90 minutes over at the England's Glory exhibition at JHW Fine Art. A celebration of the beautiful game with over two hundred exhibits - including Peter Blake, LS Lowry and Michael Craig-Martin - from over two hundred years of football.

England's Glory is at JHW Fine Art, 27 Cork Street, London W1 from June 21 - 26 2010.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Juliette Binoche and me

Let me tell you about my fabulous massage with Juliette Binoche's facialist, which came about thanks to a piece on the Best Actress at Cannes in the Telegraph and the power of Google. 'She does these facials that keep your face alive,' says Binoche, 'so that it doesn't fall down dead, you know?' At last! After watching my flesh slowly crumple over the last couple of years, here was someone who could help resuscitate a terminally ill face. I give you the lovely Su-Man Hsu:

The 47 year-old facialist to the stars - and Tony Parsons - is hired when La Binoche is filming, to get up at the crack of dawn and massage her face for half an hour, every day. 'I look like shit at 4am,' points out the north London-based therapist (somehow, I doubt it), ' but Juliette looks amazing.'

I arrive late for my appointment, all of a fluster having spent an hour and a half on public transport in 30 degree heat. Sweat dripping from my bare face, hair scraped back feeling exhausted, grim, and desperate for the loo. I look like Pig Pen. The place is a haven of Zen-like calm. Su-Man Hsu is charming, serene and absolutely stunning. She does not look her age. I beg for her advice. ' I massage my face every day,' she states and That's Not My Age is beyond impressed, 'but I can't work magic.' I laugh and try not to feel completely out of place in this perfect world of movie stars and beautiful people.

We go through to the garden treatment room, which like everything else, is Zen-like and gorgeous. Stripping down to my underwear is a shameful experience, I haven't planned for this, so what I'm wearing is quite shabby. I imagine Juliette Binoche in La Perla and quickly leap under the covers. A close-up facial inspection reveals combination skin. Then the treatment using hi-tech, 90% botanical products with active ingredients begins. All the products are from Taiwan. First a warm-up of the neck and shoulders, then cleansing, exfoliation (with hot lavender towels in between each step) and onto the massage itself - which is much firmer than I expected. Particularly around the eye socket (I won't be trying this at home). Not quite pummelling, more of a kneading action 'to work the muscles.' Su-Man Hsu's fingers dance around my face using a combination of Taiwanese and Japanese techniques, it feels fantastic.

A pure collagen face mask is left on for approx 10 minutes, during which time I'm treated to a relaxing body massage. Then onto toning, moisturising - with an anti-ageing, hydrating cream containing Retinol - and a cup of refreshing tea (also from Taiwan) to complete the 90-minute session. I don't want to leave.

Up pops Su-Man Hsu with a mirror. I don't spend that much time looking at my face, never have, but it does look different. Cheeks are plumper, eyes less saggy/wrinkly round the edges, my whole face has been lifted naturally. And the effect probably lasts a couple of days. Su-Man Hsu recommends a short treatment every week, or a 90- minute mega-session once a month. Sadly, I may share facialists with Juliette Binoche but I don't have her movie star budget. That's Not My Age maybe pretty low maintenance when it comes to skin care, spa treatments and pampering but I will treat myself again when I'm feeling flush.

Do you splurge on beauty products and facial treatments?

Su-Man Hsu 07779 151 346

Juliette Binoche: Suki Dhanda for The Guardian

Monday, 14 June 2010

The style-begins-at-forty honours list

That's Not My Age has decided there's not enough prize-giving in the world so it's time to unveil the style-begins-at-forty honours list (the SBAFtas). Designed to celebrate reaching a certain age and beyond with élan, this year's awards go to:

Life time achievement award: Iris Apfel.
Now this award is usually saved till last and given to a washed-up old fart like Paul McCartney but there'll be no charity prizes at the SBAFtas. The gong for a life of fabulousness and a-wardrobe-to-maim-for goes to the New York socialite and most glamorous 88 year-old in history, Iris Apfel. This woman has had both an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum and a book dedicated to her style. Seen below in Balenciaga and Alexis Bittar jewellery (accompanied by Alexis Bittar, Accessory Designer of the Year) at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in New York. When I grow up, I want to look just like her.

The best scientist/middle-aged crush award: Professor Brian Cox

As well as being recognised in the inaugural SBAFtas honours list, Dr Cox, 42, has just been awarded an OBE. The pop star professor says he's 'chuffed and surprised.' Give that man my phone number.

The best film: A Bout de Souffle (Breathless)
Fifty years-old this week and one of the most stylish films, ever, Jean Luc Godard's classic black and white movie is a masterpiece in 20th century French chic. Starring Jean Seberg's pixie crop, Herald Tribune sweater and Capri pants - all looking just as good today as they did at the end of the fifties. (Breathless opens in cinemas on 25 June and is released on DVD on 13 September)

The best dressed fashion director: Tonne Goodman

This is a close call. Anna Wintour makes uptown chic look easy, Carine Roitfeld does grown-up rock chick like no other, but the SBAFta for casual glamour goes to the American Vogue, fashion director, Tonne Goodman. The former model is living proof that less is more. Goodman looks amazing in her trademark shirt, Tod's loafer and jeans combo - her low key approach is effortlessly stylish. Picking up the Eleanor Lambert Award at the CFDA in New York last week, she was pared down and dressed up in Michael Kors.

Androgynous, equal dresser of the year award: Margaret Howell
The latest 'Ageless Style' issue of Vogue features the south London based, doyenne of minimal dressing, Margaret Howell, 60-something. 'I've never liked having a big wardrobe, so I'm always clearing it out,' says Howell - er, Margaret, I'm just down the road if you'd like to freecycle, 'And with age, my style has become more edited.' Readers, you heard it here second (after I'd finished reading Vogue), edited, equal dressing is the future.

The best dressed football manager: José Mourinho

His love of an Armani coat is legendary. And boy does this man know how to accessorize - a neatly arranged scarf here, a Louis Vuitton bag there - obviously the reason why he's called the special one. Mourinho, 46, says he wants to come back to England, and he's more than welcome. Just give him a year or so at Real Madrid, Fergie, announce your retirement and hand over the crown.

The once-every-four-year's award for best dressed manager at the World Cup
: a tie between England's impeccably groomed Fabio Capello, 63, and the touchline's answer to Mick Jagger, Germany's, Joachim Lowe, 51. Let's hope this isn't the only trophy Capello wins:

The time is on my side award for immortality: Keef Richards

Mr TNMA loves Keef in a special way (he even has a framed Rolling Stones jigsaw and a limited edition leather jacket as worn by KR in 1982 - it's called Night Mission!) and whilst looking at recent photos of The Stones launching the Exile on Main Street documentary at the New York Film Festival, I found myself thinking how good Keith Richards, 66, looked. Not something I've contemplated for ooh 30-odd years but the natural grey hair (take note Ronnie Wood), natty scarf and Homberg hat confirm that the human riff is both rock 'n' roll hero and style legend. Mr Richards biography is due to be published this autumn (written by James Fox) so I know what I'll be buying the Blog Widower for Christmas.

Mr TNMA's favourite image is by photographer, Ethan Russell:

The only queen we need award: Mary Portas
Back with a new series, a new website and a new wife. Mary Queen of Shops, 50, may not have persuaded Angela of Maher & Sons bakery to choose artisan bread over crap cakes but she looked Portas-tic in tunic dress, statement jewellery and opaque tights.

Who would you give a SBAFta to?

Golden Globe: aceshowbiz.com
Iris Apfel & Tonne Goodman: style.com
Brian Cox: flickr
Jean Seberg: The Times & The Guardian
Margaret Howell: Vogue
Fabio Capello: The Telegraph
José Mourinho: The Mirror
Joaquim Lowe: The Beautiful Game
Keith Richards: thisislondon.co.uk, accesshollywood.com, Ethan Russell
Mary Portas: maryportas.com