Why NARS’ Statement on Selling in China is Bull****


Recently NARS caused cruelty-free chaos by announcing that, although it still really cares about being cruelty free & ending animal testing, it cares about profits more & has decided to sell in the Chinese market.

For those of you new or alien to the concept of cruelty free products, selling cosmetics & personal care to the Chinese markets means that, under Chinese law, the product must be tested on animals. So even if NARS don’t have animal testing performed on their ingredients or products for the European market, they must have the tests done for the Chinese markets – ergo the brand ceases to be Cruelty Free.

Inevitably when companies make a move like this, Cruelty Free advocates get mad & there’s backlash – kind of like there was on Twitter last week when the news broke.


NARS wasted no time, however, in posting a statement on their instagram claiming that, by making their products available to fans in the Chinese market they’re still being dead keen on protecting the interests of animals in the long run, and that actually they still do loads of good stuff. Good stuff is great, but why are they taking a step backwards?

Their post sounds kind of contradictory – they’re super against it, but only if it doesn’t interrupt financial growth? Hmm.
But here’s one of the worst bits – NARS could have always sold to the Chinese market from outside of China without compromising their Animal Testing policy. Chinese Law does not require companies outside of China to test products on animals if they’re shipping into the country – only if they’re shipping domestically from within China. See more on this here. 

I can’t honestly say I know about the cost/profit implications of selling as imported product vs selling domestically, but it seems to me that, if NARS were still concerned with not testing on animals, but also didn’t want to alienate their Chinese fans, then surely this would be a more ethical option?

Is it likely that their advertising opportunities would be limited/restricted/forbidden when selling from outside of China into China? Can anyone shed any light on why they’ve made this decision?

I have to say I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to wear NARS any longer, but I’m sure I’ll find a kinder alternative. Can anyone recommend one?


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The Best Hiking Boots for All Terrain?

mab 1

A long time ago I wrote about choosing the best hiking boots – and now I’m going to admit whether or not all my tips worked.

Following my own sage advice (and…you know… the highly skilled adviser at Ellis Brigham) I chose the Salomon GTX 4D-2 boot in size 7.5 (I normally take a 6) and here’s how I’ve gotten on with them in the past few months.

The Salomon GTX 4 2 are high-cut boots which promise to be waterproof, offer great ankle support and have a superior stay-cool technology.  A gusseted tongue boasts that grit will not enter the boots during walks, which is an important promise to keep, in my opinion. Ever had a stone in your shoe?

I was annoyed at first, because I don’t like having big feet, so buying almost 2 sizes bigger than I normally take was somewhat of a tough pill to swallow. I let it slide, though – they might save my life (or at least my feet) in the outdoors, I can forgive them for being snug.

Trying them on, I was impressed to find them light but sturdy, with a nice chunky sole that I expect will protect me from all kinds of rubble. I like the slate grey and greenish tones, they “go with everything” which is obviously the most important thing when hiking…

Now lets talk about how they performed.

 First Wear – Peel Tower, Ramsbottom
The first wear is the most indicative of whether your boots will work for you. We got up super early and walked the 6 mile loop from Ramsbottom through Peel Tower and Pilgrims Cross, in a sticky 20 degree heat. I wore leggings like an idiot, and spent the first 30 minutes overheating profusely. But my feet stayed cool.

The hike is mixed terrain – some dirt paths, some hills and rough pasture, some road. I didn’t notice a difference in comfort for any of the areas, and the boots remained comfortable, supportive and, most importantly cool throughout.

My only niggle was during a particularly steep downhill section, where the “high-cut profile” began to rub my lower shin on either side of the tongue. It wasn’t excruciating, and could potentially be solved by thicker socks, but I quietly hope that they will soften in time (and curse myself for skimping on socks).

Overall, though, after walk 1 I’m pleased. I didn’t have to stop once to remove small stones from my boots, which is a godsend. Somehow, though, my toes are still dirty when I get home.
It’s a mystery I don’t feel compelled to solve.


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Filed under My Life, Travelling

Why “Simple” Holidays Are Good For You


I’ve long been of the opinion that I want to see the world in a whirlwind of longhaul flights, fast paced days and nights spent on sweaty buses travelling between remarkable, lesser-visited places of beauty.
I still want that sometimes, but when we recently visited Praia da Marinha, Portugal, I began to examine my attitude towards “valuable travel” and realised that you don’t always have to be jetting off to new & distant “in” places to have a rewarding holiday.
I see many travel writers scoff at people who claim they “love to travel” but go to Spanish resorts on the regular – and I’m so over travel snobbery. I love going to Spain, and I’ll go every year if I jolly well want to!
Maybe sometimes I’ll go to Rhyl or Whitby or Torquay or Blackpool.

Lets face it, while seeing the world is an admirable dream, most of us balance wanderlust with an unfortunate shackle to the real world, real jobs and the pace of human life (and, y’know, a budget). Sometimes it gets wearying, and you just need a good old cheap-and-cheerful, beer-by-the pool break.

“Simple” Beach Holidays in sleepy port towns or seaside resorts with good food, good company and a bit of sunshine are a helix for a lot of modern day aches, and even if you’re the type who’d prefer to be halfway up Everest than halfway through your second beach-side book, they will make you feel like a new person.
Taking holidays is proven to improve your resilience to stress; improve sleep quality, reduce blood pressure – why would you not want a dose of that once a year!

Imagine sitting in a peaceful, empty beach cove. You’re listening to the waves lap against the shore. You’ve got the sun on your face. The office feels a million miles away, and even if you did want to check your emails you can’t get a signal because you’re in the middle of nowhere.  Bliss.

Treat yourself this year. Book a simple adventure-free holiday and unwind for a couple of days. Beijing and Sydney will be there next year.


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