The month summed up: so much has happened this month I wouldn't know where to begin but in summary, I am back in Brazil for another semester (til the end of July) and I have pretty much settled back into a routine once more. (See my Year Abroad blog for details: http://brazilandthenut.weebly.com/).
I am into the second week of classes, already have lots of reading and it's not long until my dissertation/year abroad research project is due for my university back home. So all in all I'm slightly flustered and have lots to think about. It doesn't help that the university library and canteen staff have decided to go on strike until we don't know when, meaning I have to go to the library in the city for my research. But still maintaining a positive outlook of course, and I'm particularly looking forward to the Samba and Tango classes I have enrolled on to, which start next week!!
Now on to this month's favourites:
Cruelty-Free Favourite: Sainsbury's (a British chain supermarket) has always been my favourite place to shop for food but it has now become the hero of all chain supermarkets because it's facial wipes are cruelty-free and carry the PETA logo on them!! This makes me so so happy!! I have since converted from the Simple Facial wipes to the Sainsbury's Aloe Vera Sensitive Skin facial wipes. While it is true that Simple do not test the ingredients of these wipes on animals, the Sainsbury's ones are about half the price as well so my purse also benefits from this change. Another positive is that they remove make up much more efficiently than the Simple wipes as well so my face doesn't feel like it's been attacked at the end of a night out. Very very happy!!
"Non" Cruelty-Free Favourite: Rimmel Matte Primer. This year I have resolved to use cruelty-free products only (products that do not test on animals or have any animal derivatives in their ingredients) but Rimmel I am finding hard to let go of so I have said that once my Rimmel 'stash' is out, that's it and I will be fully converted to cruelty free products only. I am in the process of doing all my research which is great on one hand because I am feeling so much more educated. But at the same time it is difficult because I live in Brazil where laws state that make up must be tested on animals first. Stay tuned for more posts about this issue.
I really like this primer because it is easy to put on your skin and makes make up that much easier to get off afterwards. It's light and makes my skin feel great too! What's irritating for me about Rimmel is that it claims that final products are not tested on animals, however it cannot guarantee that some of the ingredients have not been. Particularly as it sells to countries abroad that require certain products and ingredients to be tested on animals first.
Nails Favourite: I've really been loving pastel colour nail polishes recently, particularly greens and peaches. But one that I really love is the Rimmel London "Too Cool To Tango" pastel blue shade from the "60 Seconds" Collection. I like it because it compliments my skin tone, it's bright but not obvious and is in keeping with the warm, last snippets of Brazilian summer weather. My only concern with it is that the finish is not completely clean and upon closer inspection does look a little bit clumsy. But obviously I'm the only one who's looking that close so apart from that: it's a great product, and a couple of people have asked to borrow it already.
Bedroom Favourite: this month I'm loving Muji candles!! My sister bought me two for Christmas (I know that's ages ago, but I didn't have my own room for the first couple of months to try it in) and this month I've been particularly obsessed with the Elderflower and Champagne one. It's kind of a juicy, refreshing smell and not too in your face, rather subtle and I love burning it every so often in the evening here (because it's way too hot to burn a candle in the day just now). It reminds me slightly of the Hollister clothing store scent, which is completely random but I still love it.
Year Abroad Favourite: I absolutely LOVE passion fruit juice!! I couldn't go twenty four hours without buying it once I arrived back in Brazil!! I love the fact that you can get fresh juice wherever you are here in Brazil whether that be in restaurants, on the beach, in the food court in shopping centres/malls, everywhere!!
Book of the month: now, I haven't finished this book yet but I definitely think it's worth mentioning: "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. I first heard about this book by watching the film trailer and I resolved to read the book before watching the film. It's a really good read and I can easily get through about 50-100 pages in one sitting (I'm currently about three fifths of the way through). I got through a good portion of it when I was waiting for my connection flight in Sao Paulo airport and I keep picking it up every so often now. Zusak's style is very different from other historical fiction writers and I think this is what makes his books so interesting to read. I'm not going to give away the story but it's set in Germany in and around the time of the Second World War, and what I like about it is that he really gets you inside the character's head by using the odd German word here and there. It definitely connects you more with the characters and their situations. There's another section where one of the character makes a comic out of pages from Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" but what they've done is integrated all thirteen pages of this comic into the book so the reader again can really experience the story. I think it's wonderful!! To make it even more intriguing, it is narrated by death! So I'm half expecting a not so wonderful ending for the majority of the protagonists (awful I know).
I started watching the film - but have gone no further than where I am in the book - and so far I have to say, it's not as good as the book in the way Liesel (the main character the book is based around) and a couple of the others are portrayed. I always thought of her as a confident girl who speaks her mind but the film makes her out to be extremely shy and quiet, so I'm not sure I'm going to like the rest of it. It also ruins the chronology of the book in my mind. Read the book first!!
Idol of the month: Lucy Watson. She is best known for being on the British reality show "Made In Chelsea" and I won't lie, I've recently been converted to the show and find it absolutely hilarious. Likewise with Lucy, I've slowly warmed to her because she is so direct, not afraid to speak her mind but is also a really good friend at the same time and will do what she morally thinks is right (even if that gets her into trouble with others). The reason why she is my idol of the month however is because she recently joined forces with PETA in an ad for their campaign against the use of fur in clothing. She stands proud with her dog Digby in front of her new ad campaign picture with a slogan that reads "Fur? I'd rather go naked" next to a picture of her conveniently: completely nude. I have the utmost respect for her and unlike her co-stars I don't think my opinion will slide of her, no matter what she says or does in Series 7. I think she is a brave person and her decision to go through with this is wonderful! Particularly as Chelsea is known for its high end fashion (which always includes some item of clothing with animal fur, feathers etc in the year round fashion) and it is rare to see someone on the show who doesn't sport it. So well done and congratulations Lucy!!
See the full PETA blog post here: http://blog.peta.org.uk/2014/01/we-love-lucy/
The use of fur is a serious issue and not one that should be overlooked! Animals are tortured for our clothing and as well as a life to live just as we do, they feel fear and pain and more action should be taken to stop these barbaric acts!!
Worst product of the month: Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector. I've never really been attracted to Garnier products but there was a sample of this cream in a magazine I bought for the plane rides over here. So I gave it a go and I have to say: I hate it! When I tried it my face was not in great shape (break outs all over the place, ew!!) but it still did nothing for me. The colour was too full on and it wouldn't blend in certain areas of my face such as the bridge of my nose and under my eyes, so it looked ok from afar but as though I had mixed foundation badly on my face when you looked close up. A disappointing finish I thought but then considering this was a sample it could have been down to the colour sample not being right for my skin tone and the fact I didn't use a brush to blend the product in.