It seems to have become something of a recurring habit of mine to follow up a week of zen-like relaxation in the countryside with a hectic weekend in the capital. Last week however, London was bathed in sunshine, a veritable two degrees warmer than Manchester, and a whirlwind of fun, food, and friends. Well worth the long journeys, early rises, and late nights. I've once again spent the week since playing catch-up in order to get myself back on track [albeit with a much-needed all-day coffee date with Jen, a full-body massage c/o Clarins, and a girly day in the city with my best friend [feat. cocktails and burritos]. I also ended up giving TGG an impromptu mini facelift, and establishing a new feature [The Beauty Cupboard], which I've detailed below. From now on it's Operation Go Go Go - Bridie has finished her exams [congrats girl!] so we're all set to embark on our big adventure together - the late nights spent knee-deep in CSS start here.

But anyhow, it's Sunday, let's have a ball.


In Colour - Jamie xx


A coming-of-age novel that [as the titles suggests] dallies with the popular literary themes of love and marriage, as well as more modern issues concerning gender roles and mental illness.   Essentially a modern twist on nineteenth-century literature; the storyline plots the post-graduation crises and love-entanglements of a cast of bright young Ivy League students in 1980s America. Despite its title, the novel is only secondarily about love and marriage, and the ending is both intelligent and refreshing. I devoured it in a day, and wish I'd read it sooner.

FURTHER READING : The 'marriage plot' as a literary device.


Kensington is one of my favourite places to grab a bite between meetings when I'm in the capital. The pedestrianised section at the bottom of Exhibition Road has something of an Italian piazza feel, with the al fresco seating of its many cafes and restaurants spilling out onto the sun-filled square. When it comes to choosing a dining establishment, decision is tough [Le Pain Quotidian,  Comptoir Libanais, Muriel's Kitchen, and Fernandez & Wells feature and tempt]. On my most recent visit I opted for London health food favourite, Roots & Bulbs. Expect : freshly made salads, cold-pressed juices, and healthy takes on popular sweet treats, all made with locally sourced organic ingredients. Any eatery that offers a self-serve salad bar and almond milk on-tap is an automatic win.

FURTHER READING : London's best healthy eating spots.

I'm a long-standing advocate of intelligent beauty, whether skin, hair, or makeup; beauty in practise is a skill, and its practitioners are not to be underestimated.

Nowhere is this more so embodied than on film sets and editorial shoots across the world, where makeup artists rise to the occasion of not just applying lipstick to the perfect pouts of demanding actresses, but putting their skills to the test in an extreme variety of ways. From adding prosthetics and facial hair, to concealing tattoos, creating scars and wounds, recreating period hairstyles, and taking a character from 'drenched in water' to 'covered in dust' and everywhere else in between [all whilst maintaining continuity between shots]. The speed, skill, and value of the MUA is understated, and too often goes unrecognised by spectators.

Last week I was invited down to London, where I spent a day with the incredibly talented team of makeup artists based at The Iver Academy in Pinewood Studios. I was able to experience first-hand some behind-the-scenes action, and was given a makeover inspired by Keira Knightley's look in The Imitation Game [see the finished result here]. The day proved fascinating in infinite ways, but most especially in revealing the sheer and astounding amount of skill, dedication, and passion required of a professional makeup artist. The word artist is truly more than appropriate.

The Iver Academy offers a range of hair and makeup courses, taught by an industry-based team who all have years of professional experience to their names. If you're interested in enrolling or simply in finding out more about the skills and training required of professional makeup artists, the academy are holding an open day on the 13th of June [details here]. The open day will feature a variety of talks and demonstrations from tutors and students of the academy - expect never to take the work of a makeup artist for granted, ever again.

FURTHER READING : A glimpse into life as a makeup artist.


The astute amongst you will have noticed a new addition to the navigation bar this week. The Beauty Cupboard is designed to complement my regular content; a concise product directory detailing my most-recommended and forever-repurchased products. See below for a selection of the star features.

Luxury eyewear retailer Glasses Direct have teamed up with jewellery designer Nicholas King to produce a limited edition range of statement eyewear.

Known for his penchant for strong shapes and embellished designs, King had previously collaborated with the likes of Chanel, Tiffany & Co, and Donna Karan before setting up his own jewellery line in 2009. The collection features four styles, each inspired by a piece of jewellery from King's main line, as well as his signature recurring motifs. 

All profits from the range [which launched this month] will be donated to Orbis, an eye-care charity which seeks to improve the quality and opportunity of eye-care in impoverished communities worldwide. 

FURTHER READING : Orbis pioneered the world's first flying eye hospital.


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