Posts

How to Look Good and Live Well on a Budget (the 1st installment)

10 years after the credit crunch and most of us are still crunching! And it’s not the healthy ‘nuts and carrots’ kind of crunchy, but the highly unpleasant, leaving a bad taste in your mouth kind😝. We’ve had to tighten our belts so much that our finances have acquired an elegant hourglass⏳ shape and we’re all left feeling like wearing a corset…gasping for air.

The Bulgarian🇧🇬 in me has never liked spending more on stuff than I’ve had to; even more so now that after paying my monthly bills there’s virtually nothing left in my bank account🅾️. To be honest I’ve had to be super resourceful in order to maintain the lifestyle I like. And I’ll tell you what…there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to have a good life, to look good, enjoy yourself and travel the world🌎. Why should that be just a privilege of the rich?! I think we should all have access to the finer things in life.

So in this post, I’ll share with you the money💵💷 saving tricks I’ve picked up over the last couple of years. Some of you might already be using the websites I’m about to mention, but even if just one person benefits from this post, well…my mission is then complete😉

I’ll start with my personal favorite: Top Cashback (Top Cashback USA). Once you register, you can use the Top Cashback app (website) as a platform to look for the online store you need e.g. eBay, Missguided, Expedia, etc. Once you click on the online shop you’re after, it redirects➡️ you to the merchant’s website and you complete your transaction as normal. The cashback tracks super fast and you get your money within weeks. If some of you have used Quidco before, you would’ve found that it takes nearly a year for cashback to clear, which personally made me lose the will to live😒 so I stopped using the website altogether. I find Top Cashback really easy to use and their Customer Service is also pretty good. If a particular transaction doesn’t track you can raise a missing cashback ticket and they deal with the merchant on your behalf.

We’ve already established that I like saving money, but it REEEAAALLY🤑 makes my day when I get multiple discounts on a single item. So let’s say I’m in need of a new outfit, I go to Top Cashback , from there I go on to Missguided for example (which by the way is one of my favorite online shops) and just before I complete my purchase I enter my 10% -30% discount code I’ve received in my email for registering with them. This gives me money off the items straight away, plus I also receive cashback in my Top Cashback account for using them as well. It does say on there that if you use a voucher code for Missguided it will void the cashback advertised on Top Cashback, but I’ve never personally had a problem receiving cashback because of using a discount code.

Tip⚠️: If you’re about to go on vacation (not jealous at all😒) and need a room, but already have a hotel🏨 in mind, it’s best to check the amount of cashback you receive if you book directly with the hotel (Hilton for example), which is currently 5% on Top Cashback or book through a comparison site such as Hotels.com currently offering up to 12% cashback.

I think that’s probably enough info for now…let it marinate and I’ll be back with more tips and pointers soon enough.

Image from: https://greatperformersacademy.com/wealth/the-8-simplest-ways-you-can-save-money-without-feeling-deprived

I’m baaaack!

PLATYPUS

alien

Right…so I haven’t written anything on here for ages, though I did complete a 4000 word assignment for my university course, which naturally exhausted all of my creative juices and desire to write another thing! The things we do to ourselves!…not even our worst enemy can inflict upon us (old Bulgarian proverb;). Anyway, there’s been a lot going on and I’ll try to touch on it all: the good, bad and the ugly. First the good: our child-free trip to Croatia was amazing…from successfully persuading the hotel staff to upgrade our room (to a high roller suite, no less) to making international friends on our eventful (see also precarious:) bus trip to Krka National Park. A definite highlight of the trip (also lowest point in my husband’s life) was using the Jacuzzi in the hotel spa and him ending up with pubic hair on his face. Contrary to his claims that I’m always on my phone taking pictures, I actually lived in the moment (laughed my head off) and completely forgot to document this spectacle; however it is indeed ingrained in my memory forever.

I also had a long overdue catch up with a good friend I met whilst living in America. She wasn’t just any friend, she was also my roomie for a few years so we not only shared an apartment, but some really funny stories and not so funny secrets. Getting together again after 10 years to the month was somewhat surreal yet our encounter was super natural…like we were never apart. Our lives have obviously moved on, like I have two kids now and she has a fiance, but it was a relief to find that our connection and silly banter were still alive and well. The boys can certainly attest to this as they kept telling us to dial it down cos they couldn’t hear each other talk about defense and space…whatevs (an eye roll)!

And the bad…well, at the risk of sounding like a tree-hugger, I can’t really think of anything bad. I try to stay positive and have a grateful heart; as long as I have my health and my family…I’m unfuckwithable! I see a lot of people in my line of work, people from all walks of life and some of their stories are truly heart-wrenching…it puts things into perspective, for sure. Namaste! 

And finally the ugly…I do actually have a story for this category. I recently had some filler injected into my forehead and lips and as it was on a Thursday night, anybody normal would’ve called in sick the day after, but I actually went in…bumps and all! Nobody said anything or asked any questions, but I could tell they were trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with my face. Gotta love the British politeness! My husband eloquently described my look as a combination of things: platypus in the lips and the ridged-forehead aliens from Star Trek in the forehead….a mythical creature of sorts. I’m happy to say it’s all back to normal now (or slightly improved should I say?! (wink wink)), and life is definitely good. I’m out, but thanks for reading and keep an eye out for my next installment of rambling;)

 

 

Images from: 

http://www.datpiff.com/919Savage-Im-Back-official-Mixtape.572442.html

http://thesecreases.blogspot.com/2011/06/fck-you-im-platypus.html

https://them0vieblog.com/2016/11/28/star-trek-deep-space-nine-a-simple-investigation-review/

 

Lost

I’m standing in front of a colossal, ornate gate; a white cherub on each side.  It’s an overwhelming feeling. To hear who you’re going to be.

I’m new. It’s my first time. A combination of random elements thrown together is what I am.

I’m auditioning for the part of a famous pop star. Leaning forward I press the button on the intercom; I tell them I have an appointment. Without warning the gate slowly starts to open. Blinding light is all I see. I can’t see.

I’m new. It’s my first time.

He is sitting behind a desk, looking distinguished…beard and all. On both sides of him respectively an older woman and a younger woman. The stage is infinite. By now I’m so used to the light, it feels completely natural. As natural as non-existent.

All I can think of right now is getting the part. It’s my only chance. Everyone’s entitled to one audition of their choice; failing to get the role means getting assigned another one. Not of your choice.

I float to the stage. He starts throwing scenarios at me; asks me what I’d do…21st century competency-based interviewing.

A unique arrangement of components in a mass production is what I am.

I know I did well. I can feel it. And then he says NO.

That’s what I’ve been picturing as my life all along, being this pop star. What am I supposed to do now? I’m lost in my own self.    

He tells me I’m too sensible to handle the fame that comes with the role. And I know this should feel like a compliment, but it doesn’t. It actually hurts. He says it’d be too boring to watch. Emotionally unstable and dysfunctional combinations are suitable only. They never fail to fail; and that makes it interesting to follow. He announces I’m going to be a nanny.

I’m new. It’s my first time. And it’s not like I have a choice at all. I guess it’s my combination. But hey, it might be fun. And God says,’ NEXT’.

I start walking away from the X mark on the stage and he says, “By the way, you won’t be able to talk in your first 12 months or so. Until you forget. I can’t allow a leak you know.”

I wish it wasn’t all predetermined. I wish I had a chance at this thing called life.

           

The Weaker Sex

She has to go dance now. He. He has to. The stage is bright and all the faces are nothing but a crowd. Faces with no names. Life stories and memories in their heads. Strangers to the strangers and friends to their friends.

Her hair is so big you’d think it’s a halo. Her fingernails..long, curved and red, her eyelashes so big they smear her skinny penciled eyebrows, her shoes –high and uncomfortable, lifting her up to a higher ground. She’s on a pedestal. She is a statue of himself. She is Katie Cleopatra.

And she’s dancing. Automatically. It’s a talent. Not to feel anymore. It’s been too long. She’s a product from a newer generation. The futuristic notion of robotic efficiency. Who needs feelings anyway?

The song’s over. She heads back to the dressing room. The hall gets longer by the day.

Sitting there, she takes the heavy eyelashes off, removes the makeup from her face and the halo off her head. In the mirror now she sees the reflection of a boy she remembers from somewhere. A familiar face resembling the innocent kid she once was. Only her Adam’s apple giving away, reminding of the truth. Sleepless night after sleepless night, reckless whims, man-made herbs and unhealthy vitamins, waking up in places she sees for the first time in her life, next to complete strangers, bedrooms with no beds. That’s the person she is now. That’s the person he’s become. Remains of him. Pieces of the shattered person he once was. Which one was the weaker sex again?

Image from https://fineartamerica.com/art/paintings/drag+queens

Let’s Talk Hair…and I Don’t Mean the Good Kind

With the anti-hair trends of 21st century where body hair (especially on women) is ‘associated with being unkempt, unclean or even barbaric’ (thetab.com) no wonder the hair removal industry is well and thriving, and likely to get even bigger. Women are expected to have skin as smooth as an egg shell and be completely hairless apart from what grows on their scalp and above their eyes. Let me tell you…the time and money I’ve spent shaving, plucking, tweezing, waxing and epilating (let’s not even open the ‘having to endure all the pain’ can of worms right now) I quite possibly could’ve owned a small apartment somewhere in the Balearics and probably raised another child.

I can’t say I like the look of hair on my legs, but is that because it’s really that repulsive or because we’ve been so conditioned by the beauty industry and its advertisements, magazines and TV commercials to dislike body hair and remove it every chance we get? Either way, most of us do it and we are utterly repelled even shocked in the rare cases that we come across a woman holding on to the handrail on the subway exposing her unshaven underarm hair. We subconsciously judge her, mock her and of course wonder why she’s chosen to not remove her armpit hair. But I think we also secretly admire her for being strong and actually not giving a hoot about what society thinks…wearing her body hair like a badge of honour.

The only hair removal method I haven’t tried yet is laser. I’ve heard it’s painful and very expensive, but at least it’s meant to be permanent (so saving you time and money in the long run). However I am happy to say that I might’ve indeed found a brilliant, less expensive alternative. I was looking for a Xmas present for myself (as you do😉) last year and came across these IPL (intense pulsed light) hair removal devices. I then went on Amazon and started reading the reviews people have written about their experiences with IPL. It was like having an epiphany…how had I not heard about this earlier?! People were absolutely raving about it. I ended up buying a 3 in 1 IPL device, which was a mid range price with very good reviews called Deess (no, I don’t own the brand😊). I chose to get the one with additional attachments as it comes with not only the hair removal, but acne clearance and skin rejuvenation fittings too. I’ve struggled with acne and blemishes my whole life so thought it was worth spending the extra money. I’m really not sure about my skin improving, but this thing certainly does wonders when it comes to hair removal. I’ve only used it a few times and already see a huge improvement…like totally bald patches on my arms and legs. You have to take in to account you skin colour and the colour of your hair…apparently the best results are achieved if you have pale skin and dark hair. I’m olive skinned with dark hair so I wasn’t sure if it would work for me, but surprisingly I’m seeing great results. Another thing I thought was great about this particular brand was the fact that you can use it at home for both face and body, it comes with cool protection glasses😎 and what’s more…it has 350000 flashes. This means you can use it for decades (though certainly hope your hair’s gone by then). It’s also fairly easy to use unless you’re a moron…which I have to admit I am. I was trying to do my unibrow area one day and accidentally singed half of my right eyebrow…not only it smelled foul, but the hair was afterwards brittle and bristly. I’ve since been putting eyelash serum on it to help it grow and at this point my right eyebrow is probably super confused thinking…do you want me to grow or fall out?🤔

So good luck both hairy and not so hairy girls…hope you find a hair removal method that works for you. I think I have😉.

Just a Random Thought

 random thought

You know how they say time heals. Some even say time is an illusion. Pain is an illusion. Well…I still remember. And it still hurts. I wish that guy Adam weren’t so gullible, and he never took a bite of that apple. Now all kinds of associations and charitable organizations are trying to collect money and find cure for cancer. Nobody even cares about finding cure for knowledge, for memory, for love. You don’t see mushrooms stressed out and depressed, fungus with a headache, goldfish agonized by scary thoughts. Tanita Tikaram had the right idea. Wipe your brow and you wipe the miles away. Everything you know vanishes. No attachments, no feelings. The world: just a horde of strangers. But instead, you suffer the loss of a person you love and your whole life is scarred. I want to turn up the music in my car and not hear my thoughts. I want to blink and forget.

I still believe in the white swallow. Rows and rows of telephone poles, the wires heavy with swallows, none of which white. And I’ve never seen it. Nobody I know has. But hope is the last to die and I still believe. I choose to have the faith of a child. I don’t need logic or reasons. And I still believe it exists. It helps you, they say. Whatever hardship you have it goes when you see the white swallow. My eyes, still the eyes of that five-year-old girl looking up. Searching for it. Praying to see that bird, an embodiment of my entire hope. What I needed the white swallow for twenty-five years ago is now irretrievably lost. And I’m still searching. It’s a force of habit.

I keep hearing: Don’t be a victim of your own bad decisions…Don’t be a prisoner of your own freedom. Change it. Change yourself. Change your lifestyle. But pollution, traffic jams, abortion, cigarette butts and empty beer bottles, collagen lips and silicone breasts, frozen microwavable food and big busy malls. It’s all part of the industrial revolution and human decadence. Priests who dare put their hands on little children, cults and sects, and churches, divine wars and religious conflicts. The whole whirlwind of low morals and newfound virtues. Ozone friendly deodorants and global thaw, zoos and overpopulated globe. Ridiculous concepts and abstract ideas. There’s no such thing as a winnable war. And I’m scared. I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of not being scared anymore.

Images from: 

http://theblogofteresa.com/words-have-power-they-are-magic-pt-13/#prettyPhoto

http://awgue.weebly.com/the-paradox-of-adam-and-eve-and-how-the-new-world-translation-fruitlessly-attempts-to-keep-it-hidden.html

What It Feels Like For A Girl

Do you know what it feels like for a girl? And I’m not just quoting Madonna (who by the way is the only living musical legend left), but when you start swapping handbags the amount of useless crap you find that you’d forgotten about can certainly amount to a small charity shop. I got bored of my ‘classy’ bag and so I decided to transfer all my stuff to the more ‘free spirit’ tassel satchel. As you can see from the above pictures some items are indeed useful like tampons, nail files, ponytail holders, a safety alarm and a tactical pen. Now the safety alarm is actually one I’ve been (re)issued at work. And you can probably gather from the ‘re’ prefix that an alarm was issued to me more than once. Funny story…I actually had a Suzy Lamplugh alarm to begin with, which looks like a cute mini deodorant, but when I took my mum to Spain last summer let me tell you that alarm wreaked havoc with airport security. They didn’t know what it was, pulled me to the side, asked if it was a pepper spray…I kept saying it’s a personal alarm and it was from work, I obviously couldn’t prove my point cos if I’d pressed the button on the damn thing it would’ve caused so much panic at the airport that I probably would’ve been pinned to the ground in seconds. My mum (who doesn’t speak a lot of English) was so confused and terrified at this point that I just let it go and security got to keep my alarm. Luckily we didn’t run into any trouble in good old rowdy Benidorm.

Another item in the photo is a glow stick I bought for my Clubbercise class, which, may I just say, I religiously attended for 2 weeks. And last but not least, the sleek, stylish tactical pen my husband bought for me for personal protection and self defense. This spy pen can not only write, but break a windshield in case of emergency and of course really hurt someone you don’t like. It helps that it’s legal and can be taken to places that don’t allow weapons.

And let’s not forget the Vaseline lip balm and pink selfie stick, which of course don’t save lives, but certainly help with chapped lips and saving memories. So as you can see…all geared up for my upcoming girls night out…bring it on;)