Norton of Morton

Read a new instalment of Norton of Morton every Saturday at 4 o'clock

Saturday 26 December 2015

Browsing boxers on Boxing Day

In which G.M. Norton sniffs out the perfect smalls for the discerning gentleman.

With today being Boxing Day, my mind naturally turned to one's undercrackers. I usually rely on good old M&S for my boxers but I must confess to being underwhelmed with them.
Feeling a need for more support and style, I've scoured the entire internet and picked out my three favourites. As luck would have it, all three are made here in Britain.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Christmas all wrapped up with the Carnaby Collar

In which G.M. Norton makes his first foray into faux fur.

At this time of year, I often see ladies resplendent in fur and can’t help thinking how wonderfully stylish they look. 

During the 1920s and '30s, flamboyant men like New York City Mayor, Jimmy Walker were often seen flouncing around in fur too. This is exactly what I was reminded of when I spied a faux fur collar by London clothing marvels, Peckham Rye. Setting eyes upon what has been named the Carnaby Collar, I thought to myself, "Norton, dear boy, if you have any mayoral ambitions then you simply must have it." 
Thankfully, the generous chaps at Peckham Rye kindly made a collar up for me and sent it over with their regards.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Eves&Gray tweed brogues

In which G.M. Norton shows off his subtly extrovert shoes.

As a self-confessed tweedaholic, I’m absolutely cock-a-hoop with my new Wellesley Tweed brogues from the wonderful new enterprise, Eves&Gray.
I first spied Eves&Gray on Instagram where they would insist on teasing me with endless pictorials of sublime shoes. After a while, the addiction took me in it's unforgiving grip and I needed more to feed my footwear desires. What did I do, you may wonder. Well, I liked them on Facebook too.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Biography of a bounder: Oliver Reed

In which G.M. Norton introduces his first rapscallion idol.

Welcome to the first of a new segment where I'll take an in-depth look at my favourite cads and bounders. Who better to start this less-than-truthful series than with chief rapscallion and every pub landlords' wet dream, Mr Oliver Reed. 

Oliver Reed was born in a drinking tavern. You could say he was a natural born drinker. You might be right.
When he wasn’t partaking in a little liquid libation, Oliver enjoyed nothing more than to read to his Elephant.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Cordings comes to T'North

In which G.M. Norton enters a tweed utopia.

Northern types, I bring good news! After more than 175 years of trading in London, Cordings of Piccadilly now have a second store, in the historic Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate. What's more, your favourite protagonist was there to witness the second coming by attending their opening evening.
I was tickled pink to be invited to celebrate their new home in Harrogate. The store is located in the beautiful Westminster Arcade and is spread across three floors. The womenswear is located on the ground floor with the two remaining floors dedicated to gentlemen.

Saturday 21 November 2015

Pencil moustache: the debonair dozen

In which G.M. Norton pens an ode to the pencil moustache. 

Quite by chance, my beard recently fell into the sink, leaving me with a pencil moustache. I was surprised, but delighted at the same time. You see, for many years, I have admired this facial punctuation mark.

The pencil moustache harks back to a bygone age and is brimming with charisma and a large dose of rakishness. 
When so many Hollywood greats wear it, you're in extraordinarily good company. 

A thin, narrow style with the optional shaved gap between the moustache and nose, it is quite a high maintenance style. It requires daily trimming to keep it in tip-top condition. 

I thought it would be jolly good fun to look at some of the men who have embraced the pencil style. 

Saturday 14 November 2015

Gadzooks! My moment of wow

In which G.M. Norton receives gifts to awe and delight (and you can too!).

I love receiving interesting parcels in the post. There’s something very exciting about opening up a box, especially if you don’t have the foggiest what is hiding inside.

This week, I received a surprise from 32Red. They are running a Twitter competition, giving people the chance to win a personalised gift by sharing a moment in your life where you have been wowed. I was fortunate to be selected by them to receive my own moment of excitement.

After tearing off the 32Red wrapping paper (I was far too excited to carefully take a photo of it), I found not one, but two very well-chosen presents inside.

A Konstruktor DIY SLR camera and a Cocktails of the Movies book!

This is my surprised/pleased/emerged victorious at Scrabble face.

Saturday 7 November 2015

No need to be Koi

In which G.M. Norton catches a whopper of a new pocket square.

A gentleman can never have too many pocket squares. Thankfully, they don’t take up much room so you don't risk a nudge in the ribs by a significant other and phrases uttered such as ‘taking up space’, ‘put them on eBay’.

Despite this, as my pocket square collection continues to swell, I’m becoming a little more selective about which ones I add. I’m growing quite a fondness for something unique.
My Kin pocket square looks perfect paired with my Rebus signet ring 
A few months ago, Cravat Club released a new collection of Japanese inspired designs. Of course, you could be forgiven for thinking that Cravat Club just specialise in silky neck adornments but they do also have a large selection of pocket squares too. Do take a look.

Saturday 31 October 2015

Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot!

In which G.M. Norton dresses up as Dr. Watson.

This week, I have a pictorial post for your peepers. 

I've always loved Sherlock Holmes. At the age of seven or eight, I became an avid reader of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's literary works. I believe this sparked my interest for all things old. I just loved the imagery of Victorian England that was conjured up in my mind.

A few months ago, I was asked to take part in a Sherlock and Watson-inspired photo shoot. Of course, I usually prefer to take centre stage but this time, I was only too happy to leave the Sherlock duties to my chum, Ant and assume the role of Doctor John H. Watson. 

I must admit, I slightly regret not shaving off the beard, although in fairness, it is quite Victorian and Edwardian in style.

The photos were taken by the wonderfully talented Jason Lawton and the rather fine outfits were from Royal Exchange Costume Hire. Many of the pictorials were taken in Peel Park in Salford, one of the world's first public parks, which opened in 1846.

I do hope you enjoy them! 


Saturday 24 October 2015

Win a luxury men’s skincare collection (worth £116)

In which G.M. Norton valiantly tests out skincare products.

In order to look one’s best; one must have a well-stocked bathroom cabinet.
Colognes, a manly safety razor, pomade and horn comb all take pride of place, along with other items such as tweezers and skincare products. Yes, that’s right – men need to look after their skin too.
As I don’t have my own personal valet to make sure my grooming arsenal is in plentiful supply, I was tickled pink to be sent a full skincare collection from luxury brand, The Refinery.
I received a face wash, moisturiser, scrub and face mask. I must confess at this point that until now, I have never used a face mask. Read on as I take you through my thoughts on each product.

Saturday 17 October 2015

This little finger on my right

In which G.M. Norton becomes the proud wearer of a signet ring.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. A very special parcel arrived this week from my chums at Rebus Signet Rings. I’m sure you can guess what it was, given the name of the company. For those not quite up to speed, it was this chunk of gold.
Featuring my Norton of Morton monogram, it was love at first sight. Even more so once I slipped it on my little finger. The ring, which has been deep seal engraved in reverse, was carefully handcrafted by one of Rebus’s expert engravers. They have done an absolutely fabulous job. Every so often, I find myself lovingly gazing at it and admiring the skill that has gone into making it.

Saturday 10 October 2015

The ring masters

In which G.M. Norton visits Blighty’s finest signet ring specialist.

Given the choice, a gentleman seldom rises before the clock has chimed six bells. Especially when the bed is so warm and there is still a dark hue to the morning October sky.

It transpires that the chance to visit a signet ring workshop is enough motivation to get me jumping to my feet. Two hours and seven minutes after leaving Manchester, the train smugly pulled in at London’s Euston Station.
A short walk to the London Underground and within a couple of tube stops, I was walking along the famed Hatton Garden, the renowned jewellery district. Rebus Signet Rings are just behind Hatton Garden on the delightfully named Leather Lane.

Leather Lane is full of life and character. Street traders filled the pavement, selling their wares. I loved the atmosphere, excitedly I counted the numbers – 35, 37, 39 – before reaching no. 59, the home of Rebus.
I pressed the buzzer on the door and was quickly granted safe passage. Upon entering, I was warmly greeted like an old friend.

Emmet Smith, the director and owner of Rebus Signet Rings, greeted me personally before taking me to the downstairs workshop. A cup of tea was soon thrust into my hand, making me instantly smitten with the place.
The workshop is small but perfectly proportioned, with strange looking objects as far as the eye can see. 
There was a quiet, studied, focused air as the skilled craftspeople used traditional hand-engraving tools to perfect chunks of gold, silver and platinum. 

It certainly made a welcome change from a mouse and keyboard.

I couldn't help chuckling when I spied the painted wall sign, ‘Keep focused and get a massive amount of shit done’.
Emmet kindly explained the process of making a signet ring. He handed me the 9ct yellow gold signet ring that had been made for me in the very room I was standing in. I slipped it onto my little finger, a perfect fit.
The ring will carry my Norton of Morton monogram, which will be deep engraved in reverse. This will mean that I’ll be able to use it just like King Charles II did, and sign off my gentlemanly correspondence with my wax seal.
Emmet is a lovely chap. He told me how he started at Rebus as an apprentice before having the foresight to buy the business and become the owner. The story of Rebus Signet Rings keeps getting better and better.
Emmet proudly brought over two beautiful Victorian reference books. The first lists all manner of family surnames, with a reference number alongside them. Using the second book, you can use the reference number to find the corresponding family crest for the surname you are interested in. It turns out that ‘Norton’ has quite a number of family crests previously assigned to it.
As he explained, the books help to fire imaginations. You really can have almost anything engraved on a signet ring. 
Rebus also boast Initial and Talisman collections, which are proving extremely popular. The Talisman collection includes whippets, seahorses and bumble bees. Emmet's personal favourite is the owl, which is surprisingly not one of their best sellers. 
Whatever style you plump for, it is clear to see that signet rings are extremely precious and should be cherished.
What I absolutely adore about Rebus Signet Rings is the fact that they do everything in the traditional, time-honoured way. All designs are hand-drawn before being hand engraved, including the most intricate coat of arms imaginable. 
There's simply no comparison between an individually hand made ring crafted in the City of London and some mass-produced rubbish made by machine. Each ring that is crafted by the skilled men and women at Rebus is made with the utmost care and attention to detail. 
It was fascinating watching the team of engravers work, with magnifying visors and eye glasses, meticulously giving all their attention to tiny pieces of metal. 
Rebus caters for all tastes, so rings are available in yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, silver and platinum, with a choice of various face designs. You can also add jewels or stones.
Rebus recently opened a York office which is managed by Rachel, who worked and trained at the London workshop for many years. This is ideal for those in the North of England who rather fancy their own signet ring. It's close to Betty's Tea Rooms too, making a visit even more appealing! There must be something about Yorkshire (known as God's Own Country) as Cordings are opening up a gentleman's outfitters in nearby Harrogate.
Thanks awfully to Emmet and the team at Rebus for making me feel so welcome. It really was a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'


Saturday 3 October 2015

The history and etiquette of signet rings

In which G.M. Norton waxes lyrical about signet rings.

Recently, I’ve become ever so slightly obsessed with signet rings. They have an utterly compelling history involving ancient Egypt, Kings, future Kings, power and authority, villains stealing identities, friends or foe on the battlefield and family heirlooms and traditions.

So, where did my obsession with signet rings start? I point the little finger of blame firmly at His Royal Highness Prince Charles. I have a great deal of admiration for his classic style. Studying photos of him in various double-breasted suits (as one naturally spends one’s time), I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the signet ring on his left pinkie finger.

Saturday 26 September 2015

Things get steamy with my everyday partner

In which G.M. Norton gets hot under the collar.

A well-pressed shirt is one of life’s small pleasures. However, pressing the damn thing is not. At least for me, anyway. In the absence of my own personal valet (please apply within), I usually dedicate Sundays to work my way through a mammoth pile of crinkled clothes with the help of my faithful steam iron.

By the time I’ve finished my shirts for the week ahead, along with the children’s school uniform, dresses and a few bits and pieces for my beloved, my temple and feet are positively throbbing. Rather than give my jackets and trousers a quick once-over, I prefer to slump into the nearest armchair with a large glass of red.
Recently, I was contacted by Tefal who were keen to hear my thoughts on their new handheld steam brush. Having admired an industrial one at a beneficiary boutique and impressed at the whole steamy affair, I agreed to try out the Tefal Steam Access.

Saturday 19 September 2015

Picture perfect with Rampley & Co

In which G.M. Norton practices a few folds with his new Rampley & Co pocket square.

I know what you’re thinking. “Is that a painting in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?”
Well, although I am always pleased to see you, there is actually a painting in my pocket. To be precise, it is ‘The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum’ by John Martin, which is on display at Tate Gallery in London.

Saturday 12 September 2015

Review: Young Outlaws Club

In which G.M. Norton introduces to you the baddest bag bandit in town.

This week, I’m reviewing a new bag that was very kindly sent to me by Young Outlaws Club.
Now they may not thank me for this, but in complete contrast to their villainous name, I’ve found Young Outlaws Club to be a complete and utter pleasure to deal with.  
The bag that they sent me is their Monroe brown leather briefcase. Cleverly, it also doubles up as a satchel as the strap is removable.

Saturday 5 September 2015

Third birthday celebrations with Flavourly

In which G.M. Norton marks the periodical’s 3rd birthday by getting sozzled.

Another year has flown by here at Norton of Morton as this periodical has reached the ripe old age of three.

Every single Saturday without fail, at precisely 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the latest slice of Norton of Morton goodness has arrived. Of course, I like to think that this is your highlight of the week. That you gather together your loved ones and crowd around an illuminated electronic screen to guffaw at my latest shenanigans. 
Thankfully, I had something to mark this most auspicious of occasions in the form of a gift from Blighty’s number one craft beer club, Flavourly.

Saturday 29 August 2015

Review: SprezzaBox

In which G.M. Norton receives a box of goodies for the discerning chap.

Please allow me to introduce SprezzaBox to you, a monthly subscription service for the modern gentleman.

The way SprezzaBox works is you pay $28 per month (£18) and in return, you receive a box of five to six surprise goodies.

After a while, each box then becomes available to buy as a one-off purchase through the SprezzaBox website. 
An American enterprise, SprezzaBox is currently unavailable to subscribe for those in Blighty. Although I do hear that plans are indeed afoot so I thought it was worth making interested parties aware of their existence.

Saturday 22 August 2015

Review: Pretentious Pocket

In which G.M. Norton exposes himself in public and enjoys a jolly good stuffing.

Last week, I exposed myself in public. I didn’t do it just once either, but three times.

I should perhaps explain at this point that I was exposing my new pocket squares from Pretentious Pocket.
Pretentious Pocket are a New York pocket square company with attitude.

The brains behind this pretentious outfit is one Justin Ross Lee.

Saturday 15 August 2015

National Male Grooming Day

In which G.M. Norton shares his grooming routine.

To help celebrate National Male Grooming Day on Friday 21st August, I was approached by Mira Showers to share my bathroom adventures (fear not, you will not be seeing any bare flesh). Perhaps they read about my Well Groomed Man exploits in Modern Barber Magazine. In any case, here are a few dastardly ruses that I follow to look my best.

The bathroom is probably my favourite room in the house. It’s my refuge away from the children, an area of calm from the stresses of everyday life. So to spend a few moments each day alone in my sanctuary is sheer bliss.

Saturday 8 August 2015

Fancy ties for fancy people

In which G.M. Norton gives his full backing to the Two Piece Tie. 

“Bond mistrusted anyone who tied his tie with a Windsor knot. It showed too much vanity. It was often the mark of a cad.” Ian Fleming (From Russia With Love, Chapter 25)

If 007 had this to say about the simple Windsor knot, goodness knows what his thoughts would be on more elaborate knots such as the Eldredge and Trinity styles that have popped up in recent years.

Personally, I find these type of knots very striking indeed. I love simple and understated, but I also like something a little unusual to satisfy my peacock tendencies.

Saturday 1 August 2015

On film: Kingsman - The Secret Service

In which G.M. Norton sees Colin Firth in a completely different light.

I had the pleasure of watching ‘Kingsman - The Secret Service’ recently, after a recommendation from a Norton of Morton reader.

In case you don’t have the foggiest what Kingsman is, it is a spy-thriller starring Colin Firth. The description is thus:
‘A super-secret organisation recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training programme just as a dire global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.’

The underlying message is that class is how you behave, not how you’re born.

Saturday 25 July 2015

Review: Scaramanga Medium Overlander Satchel

In which G.M. Norton potters about with his new bag.

A lovely lady from Scaramanga sent me an electronic telegram to ask if I would be interested in one of their leather bags. Seeing it as my duty to review one for you, I agreed without hesitation. You need to be assured of their quality, after all.
Sharing a name with my favourite ever Bond villain, played with style by the recently departed Christopher Lee, Scaramanga are a Scottish enterprise, based in Fife. They have quite the range of bags available including traditional school-type satchels, flight bags and holdalls.

Saturday 18 July 2015

Style icon: Martin Freeman

In which G.M. Norton reveals his true feelings for Martin Freeman.

I love Martin Freeman. There, I've said it.

Not in a 'accompany-me-to-a-leafy-glade' kind of way, of course. More of a 'crikey, he knows how to dress well'.

That's why the Hobbit actor deserves a place at the top table in Norton of Morton's list of style icons.


Saturday 11 July 2015

Review: Bluebeards Revenge beard oil

In which G.M. Norton tests out new beard tamers from The Bluebeards Revenge.

Cottoning on to the popularity of beards adorned on the faces of practically every man, woman and child (okay, just men), my chums at The Bluebeards Revenge have produced two beard oils.

The first is the 'Classic Blend Beard Oil', which features their signature masculine scent. The second is their 'Cuban Blend Beard Oil', inspired by aromas of the Caribbean. 

Saturday 4 July 2015

The Well Groomed Man

In which G.M. Norton officially becomes the well groomed man about town.

Your humble correspondent was recently approached by Modern Barber Magazine, to be the subject of their regular feature, 'The Well Groomed Man'. Their summer issue containing my fizzog is now out in all good barbershops.
I must confess, I was both taken aback and thrilled in equal measure that little old me could be considered a 'Well Groomed Man'. Since beginning my journey to lead a gentlemanly existence, I've made an effort to look my best at all times. Now, I just don't feel right lounging around in casual attire.

Saturday 27 June 2015

One careful owner

In which G.M. Norton feels like a millionaire.

As a regular purchaser of second-hand clothing, whether from a beneficiary boutique or Messrs E&Bay, I often imagine who the former owners were. On occasion, I’ve been known to make up whole new identities in my head, giving them names and different personality traits. 

Occasionally, you will find something in a pocket which provides a little clue to the identity of the former wearer. One jacket had a receipt for some sugar and a pint of milk, dated 1980. Naturally, I pictured them as having an addiction to sugary milk-based drinks. I called him Stanley.

Earlier this week, I took my youngest out for a trip to Alderley Edge in Cheshire. Home to rich footballers, I thought I would find it all terribly pretentious but actually, it was quite quaint. My plan was to explore the four charity shops that are all on the same main high street. It was during this outing that I picked up a blue chalkstripe double-breasted suit.

Saturday 20 June 2015

On film: The Thin Man

In which G.M. Norton considers becoming a drinking detective.

I recently had the pleasure of watching a 1934 comic murder mystery by the name of The Thin Man.

Based on a book of the same name by Dashiell Hammett, who also penned The Maltese Falcon, it is a well mixed cocktail of screwball comedy and murder.

The two main protagonists are Martini tossing married couple, Nick and Nora Charles, played with aplomb by William Powell and Myrna Loy.

Saturday 13 June 2015

A beginner's guide to vintage-style dressing for men

In which G.M. Norton helps men to dress vintage.

In a rush to pursue my quest to lead a gentlemanly existence, it has only just occurred to me that there are men out there that need a little help and guidance with the classic men’s style of dress.

So this week, I’m going to go back to basics a little. Do forgive if you feel you already know these things, or perhaps chirp up with your own opinions in the comments.
Exquisite items from Old Town, Cravat Club and Rampley & Co
Men may have decided for themselves that they are ready to ditch the t-shirt and jeans combination and start dressing like a grown-up. Or their significant other may be busily encouraging them to smarten up their appearance. 

This beginners guide is my way of offering assistance.

Like any good guide, let’s start start at the beginning.

Saturday 6 June 2015

The gentleman's new clothes

In which G.M. Norton wears one of his favourite summer outfits.

We're now in June, it would seem. Crikey, where has this year gone?

Dressing well during the scorching heat can be a tricky task. This is one outfit I recently cobbled together, which I thought I would share with you. Now, here's the thing so prepare yourself - not a single item was obtained second-hand, which is quite a rarity for me. I can sense your disappointment.
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