Saturday, 30 July 2011

Vintage Festival

Forget Glastonbury, this is my kind of festival. No mud, no tents and home to clean sheets every night. Thankfully there's not a pair of cut-off denim shorts in sight at London's Southbank Centre (though apparently Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe will be rocking up on Sunday!) Just a superior type of festival chic. With a nostalgia for the forties and fifties, guests are decked out in the most amazing traditional garb. The Vintage Festival has a lovely friendly atmosphere, fashion shows, live music and a variety of workshops including dance classes, hair and beauty salons and dressmaking sessions.

And it's worth popping into the Museum of 51 too. Designed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain, there's a fabulous collection of posters, photos and original fifties furniture:

I enjoyed it so much, I'm going back again today. Only this time I'll be wearing a dress!

Vintage Festival is on 29 - 31 July 2011 at the Southbank Centre.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Keeping it local

My favourite local coffee shop is on 5th Avenue - that's Brixton Market, not New York. But the hot drinks at Federation Coffee are just as good as anything you'd buy in Manhattan. Over the last year or so, Brixton Market has, er, gone upmarket. In fact, what used to be called Granville Arcade is now known as Brixton Village. You know things are happening when a shabby inner city arcade becomes a hamlet.

So now there are loads of fantastic places to eat like Kaosan Thai - which Observer food writer Jay Rayner recommends. Franco Manca serves the best sourdough pizzas, there's another fine Italian called Casa Sibilla and last year I even bought Christmas gifts from ultra-local restaurant/deli Brixton Cornercopia. Don't you think it's about time Visit London started paying me to promote this city?

Rosie's is one of my favourite places. Though technically it's in Market Row not Brixton Village, definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. The café/deli has been there for a couple of years - I'd like to think that Rosie was at the forefront of the Coldharbour Lane Culinary Revolution. She has her own cookbook and blog and serves good wholesome food.

The Village also has an excellent selection of vintage shops, like Leftovers (unit 71) and Circus (opposite Federation Coffee). Plus a dwindling number of more traditional, junk-filled-second-hand stores, where you can uncover fabulous bargains like The Bear. My 1950s fake fur coat.

Let me know if you're gonna rock down to 5th Avenue. I might even buy the coffee.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Golden Wonder

Ochre, saffron, old gold, call it what you like, this shade of yellow is the bomb. As a youngster, That Is My Age had a penchant for Double Mustard. One of my favourite outfits was an over-sized Dijon jumper and a cord jacket in more of a Colman's tone - worn with skinny black pants and Chelsea boots. Sounds a bit Brian Jones now I come to think of it, no wonder that woman asked if I was my mother's eldest son.

Anyhow, in a parallel universe where I have some spare change, this autumn the Dijon sweater will be replaced by this gorgeous Day Birger et Mikkelsen blouse. And the saggy red jeans I've been wearing all summer by these fabulous Jaeger trews:

But this time round I won't be doubling up. Best to err on the side of colour caution and opt for the more grown-up combination of saffron and black. Just like in Cy Twombly's four seasons winter painting, which I was admiring only last week at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. So, might as well add that to the shopping list too.

And don't forget Larky Khaki. Remember, Mary Quant recommends wearing military with 'an army of colourful allies.' Mary knows about these things.

What colour will you be wearing this autumn?

Blouse: Day Birger et Mikkelsen
Catwalk shots: Jaeger
Cy Twombly painting: MOMA

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Who's afraid of the self-service checkout?

Whilst I like this shopping bag, I'm scared of it. Not afraid of the tote itself, just of the havoc it'll wreak in the bagging area. Mr That's Not My Age says that when he goes self-service, things are as smooth as Harper Seven's bum. When I'm around it's pandemonium. Trying to get through checkout without hearing the irritatingly calm electronic voice say those six little words is like trying to get a Dalek through airport security without the alarm going off.

Are you afraid of the self-service checkout?

The cotton tote is designed by illustrator and print maker James Brown, costs £8 and is available from

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Wild Thing

How good does Helen Mirren look here? A Dolce & Gabbana leopard print maxi dress and leather biker jacket could end up looking a bit tacky, a bit Jackie Collins. But the 65-year-old actor pulls it off by opting for simple, slicked back hair and natural, glowing make-up. Snake might be the new print on the block but as Mirren proves, leopard is still a bit of an animal.

That's Not My Age already has a leopard print coat, dress and long-sleeved top, so now I'm thinking shoes. I've narrowed it down to these cute kitten heels from LK Bennett and a pair of lovely slippers from River Island:

Which do you prefer?

Helen Mirren at the Lucky magazine and party: LA Times

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Label Love: Studio Nicholson

Apparently this is the perfect weather for wasps. And the perfect weather for Studio Nicholson. I've given up trying to pretend it's summer, and shifted to more of a trans-seasonal look. So that means a mannish jacket and slouchy pants, or jeans. Easy, effortless pieces that can be swiftly livened up with a pair of Liz Taylor earrings, a stripy straw bag and an eye-catching manicure. Designer, Nick Wakeman based her current collection on a 'typical European man's wardrobe,' and there's definitely something about this tomboyish range that reminds me of those gorgeous men The Sartorialist snaps in Milan - garnished with a sprinkling of off-duty Kate Moss. Not a bad combination, eh?

Monday, 18 July 2011

A right pen and Ink

Whilst we await the next Hackgate resignation - people, this scandal is better than an episode of The Wire - thoughts turn to appropriate media behaviour. It's not just the phone-hacking and the entrapment, but the daily stream of toxic celebrity tittle-tattle too. As political columnist Henry Porter commented in yesterday's Observer, 'Murdoch played to our worst instincts and he is responsible for a fair amount of the heartlessness, coarseness and spite we see every day in the tabloid press.' And he's not wrong. The fuss made over TV presenter Fern Britton's tattoo, last week, is a case in point. Lambasted by the Mail and the Telegraph for daring to have an inky design on her abdomen at the ripe old age of 53, Britton remarked:

'I believe in growing old in any way that makes me happy. I get treated as if I've done something terrible. But I never have. I've never murdered anyone. Perhaps I should have had "I'm a twat" tattoed on my forehead. Would they have preferred that?'

Phone-hacking. Fern Britton. Personal privacy. What do you think?

Photo: Woman & Home
Fern Britton quote: The Guardian

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Put on your hi-top sneakers...

The fear of looking like one of Duane Hanson's sculptures may have put the kibosh on my floral pant-wearing days but it's not going to stop me wearing my new Liberty print Nike hi-tops. Oh no.

The latest addition to the TNMA wardrobe is the perfect accompaniment to coloured denim. Here I am in slightly saggy Zara jeans at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - which are excellent by the way.

To avoid the mutton-dressed-as-mutton look, it's best to opt for a contemporary silhouette, hence the red jeans and easy v-neck t-shirt. The Liberty print hi-top also looks neat with a pair of rolled-up indigo jeans and an over-sized blazer. My advice - unless you're after the Duane Hanson meets Anna Dello Russo look - is to keep the rest of the outfit simple.

The range stocked at Liberty tends to sell out pretty quickly, so I bought mine from Office.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Postcards From The Edge

When you read this post, I'll be swaddled in beach towels clinging to a Cornish rock like a heat-seeking mussel. But ever since Manhattan Brother asked 'Do people still send postcards?' on his recent visit, I've been giving it some thought. Was he reminiscing or simply considering a more traditional form of message-sending to overcome the universal lack of Wi-Fi on this side of the Atlantic? In a time when texts and Tweets rule, there's something deeply satisfying about a good old-fashioned postcard. Time spent picking out something special for a friend - French donkey in gingham leg warmers anyone? - so that they too can experience a little piece of your holiday, with the boring bits left out. Kind of like a Tweet but to someone you actually know.

So, yes, I do still buy them. Though fewer than in the olden days, now that technology has provided other ways to communicate with my family without talking. And I'm in good company. Alexander Shulman says, ' Postcards are an essential part of being on holiday, even if they don't get sent. There is nothing nicer than sitting in a bar with a delicious drink and a pile of postcards - scribbling as you watch the world go by.'

I never throw away a postcard - there's a special place in the kitchen where I keep my stash. This photo shows a small selection laid out on my Blackpool chest of drawers.

Wish you were here...

Do you still send and receive postcards?

Alexander Shulman quote: FT
Blackpool drawers: Zoe Murphy

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Bonfire of the transparencies: a Brian Duffy retrospective

If I had £375 to spare, this gorgeous photograph of Grace Coddington would be on my bedroom wall faster than Rupert Murdoch can launch the The Sun on Sunday. The image is part of the fantastic Brian Duffy retrospective at the Ideas Generation Gallery. Duffy along with David Bailey and Terence Donovan was one of the first pop star photographers - a group of young working class lads who revolutionized British photography in the sixties and became more important than their subjects. The newspapers called them the Terrible Trio, but Duffy was the one with the punk rock attitude. Described by Philippe Garner, Head of Photography at Christie's as, ' An anarchic, abrasive, provocative young talent who sensed the seismic shifts in British culture that could allow hin to invent himself as one of the most successful of a new breed of fashionable photographers.'

He set fire to his photographic archive in 1979. And quit.

'I came to work, and an assistant said, " We haven't got any lavatory paper, bog paper - you know, toilet paper," and I said, "Oh yeah." And I thought, this has got to end. I realised in a flash that I'd ended up commander-in-chief, managing director, senior partner in charge of the toilet bloody paper. And that's when I decided to knock it on the head. Either by me murdering my staff, killing myself, or setting fire to the whole fucking thing. I decided to burn all the negatives in the garden.'

Fortunately for us, over 160 of Duffy's images escaped the fire:

That's Not My Age loves the wall of magazine tear sheets, and the iconic pictures of Jean Shrimpton and Verushcka:

Duffy photographed three of David Bowie's album covers: Aladdin Sane, Lodger and Scary Monsters. And many actors, politicians, designers and artists including Sidney Poitier and Arne Jacobson.

The first book of Duffy's work is on sale now. And the first ever full retrospective at the Ideas Generation Gallery runs until 28 August. Go see it.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Handwritten by Tanya Sarne

If there's a woman out there who doesn't have an old Ghost dress hanging in her wardrobe can you please tell me exactly what you were wearing in the nineties? There was a time when Ghost was the best thing since Margaret Thatcher's deposition - when Nigella loved a body-skimming dress and colourful cardi. Tanya Sarne is the woman who founded the brand, eventually sold it and moved on to create another fabulous label, Handwritten. And here she is:

Handwritten is like Ghost, but better. Simple, pared-down styles in Sarne's trademark slinky viscose fabric - which as we all know has magic figure-flattering properties. Perfect for grown-up ladies. And the good news is there's a three-day sample sale this weekend.

Unfortunately, I'll miss it. We're off to spend a few days in Cornwall with some friends so I'll probably be sheltering from torrential rain in a bus stop somewhere and comforting myself with a non-stop supply of vegetarian pasties. But anyway, I've had a preview of the autumn collection and it's gorgeous. Beautiful silk blouses, cashmere knits and feminine dresses. So I'm looking forward to the next sale when I'll be investing in something gorgeous and stretchy to cover-up my Cornish Pasty curves.

The Handwritten sample sale is on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
(8, 9 and 10 July 2011) from 11am - 7pm at 1-3 Middle Row, London W10 5AT

Monday, 4 July 2011

In the mood for Modern Love

Hooray for Modern Love! A brand new label designed by grown-ups for grown-ups. Textile designer Sarah Arnett and fashion consultant/ex-fashion director for Elle magazine and the Sunday Telegraph, Kim Hunt are both in their forties and together have over 40 years experience in industry. 'We're designing for an age group that's not very well catered for,' says Arnett, ' For women who understand their own style and don't want to look boring or frumpy.' There's no chance of that with this fabulous collection of slinky jersey dresses and crepe de chine separates in striking digital prints. Inspired by thirties Paris and the New York disco scene of the seventies, Modern Love's capsule range is more show-stopping Goldfrapp than boot-cut-loving old bat.

Slow fashion and perennial style are the main themes behind the label, 'The idea that it's better to save up, buy one beautiful thing and be satisfied. Shop for modern clothes the way you shop for vintage,' advises Arnett, ' We aim to combat consumerism, which may not be the best business strategy ever but that's what we believe in. ' Printed in Italy and made in Brighton, the digital process uses 40% less water than traditional methods and manufacturing techniques produce minimal waste. The simple, easy styles, like the cape dress below, may be a bit pricey but they're timeless and wearable (all dresses have a Roland Mouret-style power net) and prove that when it comes to year-round fashion, less is definitely more. As Arnett points out, 'A Modern Love dress is designed to last forever. Like the film In The Mood For Love, the actress wears the same style all the way through - in lots of different ways - and it works!'

Modern Love goes on sale at Liberty on 7 July 2011 and will be available online by the end of the year. For all enquiries contact: