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Saturday, 28 January 2012


Thoroughly Modern Milly has packed up and moved to a .com ... but fear not, it will be bigger and better than ever.

For the latest arts, style, food and travel reviews and to hear about the best of London, please visit, keep following and subscribe to receive email updates at:

love from,

Milly xx

Friday, 27 January 2012

Suedey Salon by Mark Alexander, Bloomsbury

I exited Suedey salon with two things: beautiful, glowing, much improved hair, and a lovely new friend. Mark Alexander's new salon is a treat, a petite corner shop with charm and character aplenty.

Suedey is located in Bloomsbury / King's Cross, an area of London that is seriously up and coming. The whole street is just delightful... I'd absolutely love to rent one of the unused properties for a creative pop-up shop, or just as Thoroughly Modern Milly headquarters. Very tempting.

Owner and creator of Suedey, Mark Alexander has been working from home for the last eleven years, opening this salon a couple of months ago after spotting the adorable venue whilst cycling by one day. He acquired it that very day, a few weeks later and he's open for business.

With an impressive list of fiercely faithful clients, the salon is always buzzing with friendly faces and happy customers. Mark has been rushed off his feet, and after visiting I can understand why... thanks to the simple concept and his caring, friendly personality it is a joy to spend time here.

He is dedicated and talented, not just at hairdressing... but at making delicious (spicy ginger) tea, decorating the main room (with blooming tangerine coloured roses) and creating a lovely ambience (with an intriguing playlist, and subtle scent through the air).

But of course Suedey is primarily a salon, and at this it excels. Sure, it is still a little rough round the edges - for instance, the sign still needs to go up outside, but there is plenty of time for the finishing touches. Mark was refreshingly thorough with his analysis of my hair, bringing out drapes of violet and red material to gather information about what tones and colours suit me naturally. We agreed that my hair had an excess of ash tones, a khaki green hint that needed to be eliminated. Examining my roots and ends, he decided on an interesting method to increase the brightness and creaminess of the blonde. First a brighter tone was put carefully through my hair in foils, then the remaining hair was painted with a pretty shade of blonde. Though the method is lengthy, the time flew by as Mark and I discussed everything and anything, and I drank endless cups of tea!

The results were glorious: a much brighter and fresher looking colour, more Marilyn-esque and generally a hue that suits me much more.

You will understand if (or should I say when) you visit Suedey why I think it so exemplary. Mark Alexander is a brilliant hairdresser and host, and I cannot recommend him highly enough.

More info here, website coming soon.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Blink Bar, Selfridges

Nowadays, most women 'in the know' will have cottoned on to the brilliant beauty technique that is threading, a painful but effective way of removing unwanted hair. It is used most for tidying up eyebrows and upper lips. And Blink is THE place to go for perfect threading results.

It is amazing to watch: highly skilled women hold thin laces of cotton between their mouths and hands carefully extracting hairs to create a perfect shape. It is much more effective than waxing as it is easier to remove shorter hairs, giving a cleaner job, and also pulls the hair deeper, so the hairs don't grow back as fast.

My mum was there at the start of this new fad, years ago, pampering her eyebrows with threading in a posh beauty place in Paddington, back when this was a little heard of and specialist treatment. More recently she has reverted to Blink, swearing by their experienced beauticians, and unbeatable results.

Blink has brought the technique to the masses with its brilliant brow bars that are now located in most of the big London department well as across the country. A convenient and quick way for women to quickly have their eyebrows tidied up in between shopping. Since trying the technique a few years ago I will never ever go back to waxing or plucking.

The Blink beauticians are very experienced and kind, aware that the threading can be painful on sensitive skin. In Selfridges recently I received the best eyebrow thread yet. A lovely girl called Hetal was my beautician. It was less painful than usual and the final look better than ever. My favourite thing about the Blink brow treatments is the relaxing mini massage they give at the end of the threading, maybe I'm just so relieved the painful bit is over!

Blink also provides a range of nutritious and glamorous eyebrow and lash products that help you maintain and perfect your brows on a day to day basis. I have tried the useful gel which keeps your eyebrows looking smart and in place, and the Blink pencils which come in lovely rich colours to give eyebrows a glossy and full look. The luscious lash oil is my favourite, because I wear fake eyelashes obsessively, this gentle oil adds moisture and shine while also strengthening.

£17 and 15 minutes is all it takes to achieve the best brows you have ever had. Get your brows beautified by Blink, it is so worth it. Visit website here.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Building the Revolution, Royal Academy of Arts

‘Building the Revolution’ is a small but thoughtful exhibition showing in the upper Sackler Wing at the Royal Academy. I visited after a long look round the Hockney so, I'm afraid, my mind kept wandering back to the bright landscapes on show below.

The show focuses on Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935, very much activities that ran in parallel in the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Pre-revolution the basics of colour and geometry were stripped right back with cool, minimal results. The Russian Revolution in 1917 brought the Bolsheviks to power leading to a period of intense innovation in visual arts and architecture. A radical visual language was established to represent the new world of Soviet Socialism. Artists and architects worked in a burst of creativity, abandoning traditional ways to address the modern world.

This exhibition explores the relationship and interplay between art and architecture, qualities are presented through both forms… the cubist-influenced art is structural and exact and the architecture shows similar qualities, together they present a vivid picture of the idealistic culture of the time.

At times the exhibition is a little too much like a history lesson, though there are some beautiful photos of geometric architecture and lovely artworks by leading Russian avant-garde artists El Lissitzky and Liubov Popova. They save the best till last, the final room shows small cubist works by Russian artist Ivan Kudryashev. The palette used is gorgeous with angular shapes and subtle shading, understated but beautiful work from this little known artist.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, Royal Academy

Allow plenty of time when you go to the David Hockney, the hottest exhibition to open in London this month. The Royal Academy dedicates its main space to this illustrious artist, in a major retrospective show that includes over 150 works. Some pieces date back as far as 1956, but most have been created in the last eight years, in a staggering flurry of activity.

With Lucian Freud gone, Hockney is being dubbed as Britain’s best painter - this exhibition seems set to secure the crown. We are taken on a journey through Hockney’s vast output visiting numerous fascinating landscapes from different stages of the artist's life. The exhibition’s sole focus is landscapes… Hockney’s favourite subject receives obsessive and excessive treatment, in particular the lands of East Yorkshire where he has been stationed for the past few years. Many of the huge paintings are made from several adjoined canvases, their sheer scale makes them very impressive and much of the colour is so bright you feel a glow standing beneath them. The colours, the vibrancy, the sense of perspective and line all illustrate the passion behind Hockney’s talent, he often seems overwhelmed by the natural beauty before him, and he certainly presents a glorious picture of our land. ‘Woldgate Woods’ and ‘Winter Timber’ stick in my mind: huge bright canvases, rich and atmospheric, bold and memorable.

The most widely anticipated part of this show perhaps is the suite of iPad drawings, a new technology Hockney seems captivating by. The Arrival of Spring features 51 curious iPad drawings of the same country road at different points of the year. The immediacy and speed with which he can draw on this electronic tablet makes it the perfect medium for capturing ever-changing nature. It is an intriguing marriage: instantaneous modern technology and timeless rustic subject matter. It is a breathtaking room of images: as the drawings are printed on paper their original medium is not immediately obvious; Hockney makes the finger stokes very painterly. They are joyful and lively, full of innocent vision. I would have loved to see the process of creation, an amazing function on the iPad enables one to watch how a picture is drawn.

Towards the end of the exhibition a film is playing, a very different medium for Hockney, but even here his energy and love of colour is evident. The film is a collage of moving images; it is lovely and happy, all the audience were smiling watching dancers in bright costumes with familiar upbeat piano music. I had to drag myself away from staying for a second sitting. David Hockney was born with synaesthesia, a neurological condition where you see colours to musical stimuli. With my interest in music and art this particularly fascinates me, effects that can be noticed in this film, but are perhaps not as obvious in his paintings.

I left feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by this epic exhibition, and yet have no doubt that it was Hockney’s vivid canvases that lifted my mood for the rest of the day, it is the perfect remedy to fight off the January blues.

Exhibition continues until 9 April 2012, book here.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Hot on the Highstreet Week 87

“Celebrate the beauty of words, the joy of writing and the art of conversation.”

Selfridges are currently honouring wonderful words, with writers-in-residence, a special collection of letter-inspired jewellery, captivating storytellers and literary themed objects and gifts.

I absolutely love clothing or accessories which use words… my ‘Milly’ version of the famous Carrie necklace is a treasured piece in my jewellery box, as are my old limited edition Luella t-shirts with slogans like ‘Daddy I want a pony!’ On my 18th birthday I received a beautifully simple engraved silver ring from my parents quoting ‘Je vois la vie en rose’ (which loosely translates as the familiar saying ‘I see the world through rose tinted spectacles’). And inside there is a personal message, words that remind me of that important birthday.

I think Selfridges are onto a winner with the words idea. Teaming up with Tatty Devine, they have created an in-store workshop where shoppers can go along and design and customise their very own, entirely unique piece of jewellery. They’ve got everything at hand to decorate your necklace with different chains and charms in store. All the rainbow sheets of plastic are available and someone is on hand to laser cut your piece to perfection. All the jewellery findings are stored in jars attached to shelves by their lids (one twist and you can pick out just what you need). I went along and designed a Thoroughly Modern Milly necklace.

If you’d rather have a ready made piece this fabulous jewellery brand have also created an exclusive range of funky necklaces, with plastic words like ‘OMG’ and ‘Bookworm’ on them.

The Words Words Words programme continues until 1 March: visit the Selfridges website here for more information on all the literary workshops, talks and events.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

London Art Fair, Business Design Centre, Islington

The London Art Fair preview evening is always an interesting night of familiar faces, the odd celeb and lots of art dealers and critics. As the UK's biggest art fair for Modern British and Contemporary Art this annual exhibition has quite a reputation to uphold, and this year it is confident and colourful as ever. I have worked at the fair several times in the past, but for the 2012 opening night I was invited as a guest.

As usual it is located in Islington’s vast Business Design Centre on Upper Street, the smart building with its simple layout is perfect for displaying art. The list of galleries exhibiting is endless and it is almost impossible to see it all. We got a bit lost while on the hunt for champagne, the trail of empty glasses led us round the wrong way.

There is the usual handful of big names on show, Hockney (very topical), Riley, Lowry, Aitchinson to name a few, but there are also unknown gems cropping up every few stands. Of course my dad Chris Kenny's work, beautiful and immaculate boxes, shines out, a selection of new work specially saved for the art fair. I loved wandering round overhearing the fascinating conversations of art critics and art lovers, the well-heeled visitors to the art fair are certainly a bold and bright bunch to admire.

Finishes today Sunday 22nd January at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Tickets £11 in advance, £16 on the door. More information and book here.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

John Martin: Apocalypse, Tate Britain

The good news? I got there just in time, on the very last day of the John Martin exhibition, the bad news? So did the rest of London. I was hit, on entering, by a musty sweaty smell, which I guess is expected with a whole roomful of eccentric visitors, all grappling to see the final hours of the Apocalypse show. John Martin’s work is apparently very popular, though I have never come across it before. This is a giant exhibition of his spectacularly vast paintings depicting biblical catastrophes and grand landscapes.

John Martin certainly had a particular vision, and I could see how his work has inspired film especially science fiction. Many of the paintings in the show look similar to stills from blockbuster films, hugely dramatic scenes of natural disaster and terror. The mezzotint prints are more subtle and intriguing, delicate illustrations made by Martin illustrating his impression of Milton’s Paradise Lost. These works show technical prowess as well as an instinctive poetic power.

One thing is very obvious walking round this Tate show- John Martin’s work is characteristically Romantic, meeting all the criteria and acting as an example for what this period was all about. Seeing the subject matter, fiery palette and dramatic flourishes, I could easily relate these paintings to composers' work of the time: Wagner's and Berlioz's and, later, Mahler’s large scale symphonies and choral works… exaggerated, grand and an over-the-top expression of passion and feeling.

I personally found this exhibition rather repetitive. Although many of the exaggerated epic canvases are impressive, few offer anything more, it is a dark and moody show with a lack of subtlety.

The bad news for you is, you’ve missed the show, the good news? You haven’t missed much.

Friday, 20 January 2012

The Anglesea Arms, Gastropub, Hammersmith

The Anglesea Arms is a lovely gastropub in Hammersmith with a lively atmosphere and inventive menu. The restaurant has a glowing reputation… and is often graced with the presence of local celebs, like comedienne Miranda Hart! I've visited several times now and from my experience the food here varies enormously though I have always enjoyed it. Last weekend we visited for lunch for a rare family meal out, it felt like a real treat. The pub was buzzing with weekend jollity and the service was impeccable, with friendly, efficient staff.

We chose an assortment of dishes, and I managed to try pretty much everything on the table. Much to my brother’s annoyance his dish required more than one taste! I was tempted by the Imam Bayeldi – an aubergine based type of ratatouille, but was put off on hearing that it is served cold, and opted instead for the leek and cheddar tart with green salad. It was delicious - a warm comforting slice of cheesy quiche with soft crumbling pastry complemented by the crunchy salad. I would never choose cauliflower soup, in my opinion thick white liquid is not very appetising; however my mum felt like it and sadly found it too salty (but to be honest her tolerance for salt is staggeringly low). The waiter immediately brought her another dish and didn’t charge for the replacement - a fresh buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto and red watercress salad. My brother’s Middlewhite Pork Belly with Potato Gratin, Greens and mustard was divine, a lovely piece of meat – with layers of crispy crackling, a small proportion of flavoursome fat and delicious, perfectly cooked pork. The potatoes were all caramelised and creamy and I thought the buttery kale was the ideal choice of vegetable to accompany the rich meat.

Puddings were a sight to behold, a glorious array of oozing sugary treats. We chose a few to share, originally we agreed on two but overwhelmed by indecision we gave in and ordered a greedy three! Very generous portions of Salted caramel & Chocolate Truffle, Frangipane Tart with Poached Pears and Ricotta Doughnuts with Butterscotch Sauce arrived for us to fight over. I liked the Frangipane Tart best: a soft, almondy cake that arrived hot served with contrasting vanilla ice cream. The only odd thing was the excess of chocolate sauce that covered the pears, it was just one flavour too many. The doughnuts were eccentric and interesting, very sweet but delicious nonetheless and the caramel and chocolate truffle was too salty bitter for me, but went down well with the rest of the table!

We had a lovely meal: hearty food, delicious cider and faultless service, an all round perfect pub lunch.

The meal cost £70 for a decent meal for four including drinks and service.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Fly to Baku, Phillips de Pury

The Phillips de Pury auction house are currently hosting an exhibition on the art of Azerbaijan, showing from 17 to 29 of January 2012.

The exhibition, entitled 'Fly to Baku: Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan' showcases 21 artists including Altai Sadiqzadeh, Faig Ahmed, Fakhriyya Mammadova, Orkhan Huseynov, Rashas Babayev, Aga Ousseinov and Melik Aghamalov. Herve Makaeloff is the curator of the exhibition.

The event is a manifestation of Simon de Pury's wish to exhibit an artistic scene which he considers 'vibrant' and the work of artists whom he considers 'original'.

It is a beautiful and unique exhibition of contemporary art from a country that deserves more recognition.

More information below.