April Favourites

Favourite Cruelty-Free Product: the Witch Hazel Natural Blemish Stick by Witch Skin Care. Now this is not a favourite because how good it is at removing, ahem, blemishes. No, this has been a life saver for the last month and a bit on mosquito and bug bites! I ran out of the stuff I used before (plus it's not entirely efficient on Brazilian bug bites), but this blemish stick has been a life saver - literally because I probably would've scratched myself to pieces otherwise. I originally bought mine because I saw my sister using hers, but it's not that great for blemishes if I'm honest, it made a couple of mine worse. But for bites it takes away the sting/itch and if you put it on before you go to sleep it heals quicker overnight. The smell is great and it's a natural product!
Although perhaps not a line I'd immediately go to, but I could see it growing on me.

Favourite Movie: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire". Oh my goodness!! This. Film!! Once again this series brought me to tears! Obviously throughout the whole thing you're preparing for someone to die but it's still AS gripping as the first film! If not more!! Absolutely crazy!! I still haven't read the books but I've saved it to my Amazon wishlist for when I go home!
  In all honesty I wasn't actually a huge fan of the first one because I wasn't a fan of the concept (children killing other children as a result of adult actions and for adult amusement in a futuristic digital age, how primitive), but I like the development of the concept in the second one. Plus we've kind of got to know Jennifer Lawrence a bit better, and I think she's brilliant!! She portrays the character 'realistically'. I think you see more of how the character would actually behave in the second one. When the character is in pain or emotional, Lawrence doesn't hold back on anything. Pain is an ugly thing and that is how she portrays it, which of course adds to the tensity of the film.
  Critics have said that her character Katniss lacks any other emotion but wouldn't you too if around you everyone you trusted was being killed or hurt for standing up for what they believed in?!
  On a more positive note, I love Jena Malone in this movie!! The only other film I've seen her in is the most recent adaptation of Pride & Prejudice - which, again, she did a fantastic job in as Lydia Bennett - but I thought she was outstanding in Catching Fire. She again doesn't hold back with her character and she's fantastic to watch. She does a very good job of keeping her true colours a secret.
  Definitely a film to put on the list, and will definitely be having a quick catch up marathon at some point over the summer!

Favourite Song: "Where I Stand" by Fabo ft LostCause (Karmon Remix). My flatmate discovered this song and I've been hooked! It's got that kind of mellow but makes you want to jam House music vibe, and it just makes me happy when I listen to it. It brightens up chilling out and helped as a booster when writing my dissertation/Year Abroad Research Project.


Bedroom Favourite: Muji Elderflower & Champagne Candle. I LOVE this smell and could happily let it burn all day (and used it up in doing so). It's not quite as potent as the Berry one I had before. It's more subtle and fresh. Oddly it reminds me of the smell of the Hollister stores but hey, still a great smell!

Year Abroad Favourite: (more of a moment really) sorting out my Brazilian VISA for the last time!! Only took nine months for it to smooth over... (See my Year Abroad blog: http://brazilandthenut.weebly.com/ for more details). But it's one HUGE weight off my chest! Now I don't have to worry about paying a massive fine when I leave.

Favourite Book: Quando Eles Dancam (When They Dance) by Paula Lobo. 
"...when a dancer (...) meets the technique and keen eye of a photographer."
I bought this book as a pre-finishing my dissertation present. Or, that was my excuse anyway. I took a break while working and went to the university book shop. I was browsing the fashion and photography section and came across this book by complete accident. Needless to say I couldn't leave it, and I didn't see the point in leaving it until after my dissertation: so I bought it, and I LOVE it!! It has some of the most beautiful photos in it of dancers all around the world from New York to India to Hawaii. Stunning! It's nothing like I've ever seen in a book and it encompasses two of my favourite things: photography and dance!! How could I not buy it?! It'll make for a good coffee table book if anything in the future.

Favourite Sport: Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga! Yes, it is literally as you have just read it: yoga but on paddle boards! It is SO much fun and incredibly relaxing! I recommend going early in the morning on a sunny day though because by the end of our session at around midday it was getting very warm, and it's not even summer anymore.
You paddle out a little bit into the lake, drop the anchor on your board (a bottle of sand in a Coke bottle) and you begin. It's a real test to your balance and your strength as you have to focus on being calm, getting the moves right and of course not falling in. It's definitely one of the things I've enjoyed most while here in Brazil, and it was exactly what I needed during the last few weeks of the dissertation period. To anyone wanting to try it, search for "SUP Yoga Therapy" on Facebook.

Favourite Icon: Peter Dinklage. He's an American actor who has been in a lot of movies, although at the moment he's best known for playing Tyrion Lannister in the Game Of The Thrones TV series. As well as being a hero in the series, he is also a hero in real life. Why? Because he openly works with PETA campaigns in preventing cruelty to animals. He has been a vegetarian for years and now has a couple of campaign videos online; the most striking one is the Face Your Food video. He challenges you not to look away and "face your food" and it's a very powerful video. I can't stand to watch anything in pain but once challenged to something I can't say no: and now I dare you to watch it!
It make me happy that Hollywood stars can be down to earth and actually have a grasp on real issues! So thank you Dinklage for your work!! You're a great man as well as a great Tyrion!!

Favourite Online Link: "Look Up!" by Gary Turk. This is such an inspirational video! He sums up perfectly our bitter sweet relationship with technology today, the big message being that we are missing out on living simply because technology is the easier way nowadays. In the video his example was a guy missing out on meeting the girl of his dreams while trying to get directions to his destination. The video shows two scenarios: one where he is lost with the directions written on paper, so he stops a woman for help and one thing leads to another and they go out, get married, have a child and grow old together. The other scenario is of the same guy but with his head down looking at his iPhone, not noticing the woman walk past because he's too busy trying to get directions from an App. It's a pretty powerful message and it's made me twice when I watched it because it's so true! Ok I can't particularly talk because I'm writing this blog, but the whole idea that we're losing our inability to communicate and coexist with each other without some kind of electronic is ugly and horrifying! Children become more dependent on technology from a much younger age and need to be entertained with electronic devices now. When I was younger, I read (real) books in a day and played imagination games and dress up all weekend long! I loved going to the park and I loved playing with real dolls with my real friends. Today I still love all those things and I feel more like a kid than the real ones. Seeing ten year olds with their own iPhone and never off it, or a toddler being entertained by a game on an iPad is heart-breaking. They forget how to be kids!
Being an outdoors person this would have happened anyway, but this video struck something in me that reinforced it. When I have kids I will make sure they enjoy the outdoor activities, climbing trees, hide and seek and imagination games. Let them be children! Let them create and be themselves without instant access to Google. Get them to broaden their minds with a good story, rather than not think at all in front of the TV.
Although this is heavily influenced by living in Brazil, I've already made the conscious effort to not use my iPod in public, and I actually adopted it when I went home over Christmas. Instead of blocking the world out, I let my thoughts and the world in and it's actually pretty relieving. You get a few seconds of head space in on the ten minute walk to campus, or the twenty minute bus ride into town. You notice your friend across the street and yell to say hi.
In using a piece of technology every second of your life, you not only block the world out, but yourself out too. Once I stopped plugging into my iPod on my transition/walk/ride to somewhere and just spent some time with my thoughts, I became significantly calmer because I wasn't battling with noise or the next thing.
My next step is to wake up and read a chapter (etc) of a book rather than a complete social media check.
A must watch!! It's so so true!! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY)

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