1 month ago

Cabin Fever: Tennis, Tanning and Thrillers


Penny McCormick, deputy editor

Watching … Men at the Barre, a BBC4 documentary about the principal dancers and soloists at the Royal Ballet. If you haven’t seen it, and are a balletomane, do watch on catch up. It gives great behind the scenes access to a golden generation of dancers such as Vadim Muntagirov, Steven McRae, Edward Watson and Matthew Ball. I’ve also been watching virtual performances from The Royal Opera House London, which is streaming a weekly programme of online shows and masterclasses. I’ll be tuning in this evening, May 29, when The Cellist, is on at 7pm.

Reading … Still Lives by Maria Hummel, an art world thriller. This is a twist on the classic art heist in that it’s the artist and not her paintings that goes missing. I am a fan of the art mystery – and can’t recommend Hannah Rothschild’s The Improbability of Love too highly – a rediscovered old master which leads the reader into a high-society world of Russian billionaires, collectors and sheikhs. More historical is Alex Connor’s Artemisia, about the (real) artist Artemisia Gentileschi – one of the first female artists to be recognised in Renaissance Italy and patronised by the Medici. Artemisia led the way for later female artists to thrive, though was dismissed and defamed for centuries.

Adding … to my make-up bag. When I decamped from Dublin to Co Down at the start of lockdown I inadvertently forgot my make-up. Perhaps I was subliminally downsizing, foreseeing there would be no need for a “full face” while working from home. I’ve relied therefore on what I can source on essential shopping trips, finding supermarket items which have been surprisingly good and all under €10. My latest purchase is Super Facialist Rose Hydrate Soothing Mist (originally created by Irish facialist Una Brennan). It’s light, refreshing and infused with rosehip, aloe and hibiscus extracts. I’m also a fan of Sanctuary Spa’s 10-in-1 Super Secret Facial Oil, which can be used night and morning. I find it’s non-greasy though very nourishing. For coverage, I’ve reverted to Garnier’s iconic BB cream – something I used many years ago – which evens out skin tone, illuminates and hydrates. One thing I did have at home was Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Ghost Edit Palette. It pulls everything together multitasking as a blush, bronzer and highlighter. I wouldn’t be without it. Find it online at Harvey Nichols or SpaceNK.

Síomha Connolly, digital editor

Reading … with the weather being so nice lately, I’ve taken to reading out in the garden any chance I get. I steal hours early in the morning with a cup of tea before I start work and again in the early evening, moving the chair to follow the sun around the garden. It’s got me thinking of my granny who was a sun worshipper to the end, even at 93 years old she’d be the last out in the garden every day, squeezing into the last sunny corner! I’ve finished some great books recently, including Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld, Commonwealth by Ann Patchett and Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson. The last one was recommended by my colleague Sarah Halliwell in a recent posts on books and perfumes that can transport you to other places. Theatre for Dreamers, set on the island of Hydra in Greece, is spot on as Sarah described – it’s pure escapism and allows you to live vicariously through the young group’s island adventures. It’s made me want to take a dip in the sea over the long weekend if I can find a quiet rocky patch to jump in. Though I can’t imagine I’ll last quite as long in the water as if I was in the Aegean.

Drinking … with warmer weather comes new drinking habits. Gone are the deep reds of winter, it’s time for refreshingly bright orange wines. These skin-contact wines are made from white wine grapes but the skins are kept on giving them the most delightful hue. My favourite is Progetto Calcarius, a biodynamic wine from Puglia which you can buy from levaceau.ie and Frank’s on Camden Street. It’s a delicious drink on a hot day and would be lovely to try over the bank holiday weekend!

Sarah Halliwell, beauty editor

Playing … tennis. We’re sorry for football, rugby and GAA players, but tennis players and golfers breathed a sign of relief to get playing again during the past two weeks – within 5k, and socially distanced. Tennis players are being careful of their knees as they creak back into action after months of downing rackets, and the usual sociability is curtailed; there’s no hanging around the clubhouse, or challenging other clubs to league matches (typically followed by tea and discussion of controversial line calls). It’s only singles at the moment, and the harder work is helping to shift the Corona 10 (those extra pounds piled on from nightly gins and the all-day biscuit opportunities of working from home). I love that a pair of decent trainers and plenty of suncream is all the kit you need; vanity is not encouraged on court (Federer excepted) and posers will find no audience – everyone’s too busy watching the ball. And although it’s not considered a calming or mindful activity like yoga or Pilates, there’s actually something meditational about tennis: all your energy is focused on hitting the ball well and winning the point. You don’t think about the fact you’re exercising; there’s no counting steps or laps or kilometres. And yet a competitive game, when you’re slugging out a third set against a dogged opponent, demands all reserves of energy, determination, concentration and physical resilience. Plus it’s a sport you can play at every age. Find your local court or club and channel your inner Borg or McEnroe. www.tennisireland.ie

Ordering … Etto restaurant is now offering a selection of wines for home delivery, should you be running low for the weekend barbecues. Choose from the Iberian box, with a selection of Spanish and Portugese wines, and the Etto box of favourites from Italy, Spain, Austria and Germany. At a time when restaurants are having to be smart and adaptable, let’s support initiatives like these until we can return to eat at our favourite places. 01 678 8872; www.etto.ie. Free delivery in Dublin, €10 around Ireland.

Brightening … As the weather warms up, we’re trying to put away our slippers and get back into the habit of wearing proper shoes, though Birkenstocks are as far as we’ve got. As it’s sandal weather, a splash of cheering colour on toes, now cruelly visible to the world, can help: Chanel’s Le Vernis in Sailor (€25) is suitably bright. For the face, a bit of bronzer is coming in handy too as the sun comes out – try Clarins’ generous Bronzing Compact, €44 (www.clarins.ie) dusted and blended in to take the edge of a too-long-indoors complexion, or some Amanda Harrington face tan (at Harvey Nichols) buffed in using her big brush (there’s a body version too) for a good natural colour. And for a quick warm-up, I’m finding the pre-shower St Tropez mousse (€19.99) pretty unscary in terms of colour – just zip it on, leave for a minute and then shower as normal. You don’t have to be madly precise, so it’s pretty speedy to use.


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