Wednesday, 8 August 2018

My Top Three from The Ordinary

I jumped on The Ordinary bandwagon pretty early as a result of one single review I read which made me want to try them out. I think what drew me was the classy brand aesthetic and packaging, the price point and surprisingly, the clinical product names.

Their naming conventions made me really curious to read about the actual ingredients in each product in order to make the best choice for my type of skin and it made it feel like I was buying a product from the pharmacy, not ordering it off of Asos (which is exactly what I did). I will get into what I use on a daily basis shortly…

Initially, I read a bit about the founder Brandon Truaxe, and the ideas behind the brand and all of what he seemed to stand for appealed to me greatly. The guy was working for one of the big beauty houses and saw how little it actually costs to produce a product and yet brands sell at premium prices and enjoy the ridiculous margins. I work in marketing but because of my true consumerist nature, my mind set has always been “I am most likely overpaying for this crap but I still want it”. So the fact that the founder was addressing the reality of things and seemed to care more about my pocket and satisfaction and less about margins earned my respect.

Consequently, Brandon sold majority of shares to Estee Lauder and started behaving really weird on social media – that made me not like him as much but I was already sold on The Ordinary and the majority of my skincare still carries the label (yes, I either splash out £80 on Drunk Elephant or keep it skint with The Ordinary, there’s just no in between for me). And that’s just my opinion, I am sure he had his business and personal reasons to do both those things.

After this slightly long intro, here are my top three The Ordinary products.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

While I was away

I don’t normally like exposing too much of myself and how I feel or think (my boyfriend would lol at this statement!) or at least not on the blog, which is open to everyone to read. I did however, take a two year hiatus from writing here and you know, things happen, life happens.

I am 26 now and not sure if I am allowed to say that I am “growing up” anymore but I guess I have been evolving into a more mature person who now accepts dinner conversations about mortgages and marriage and babies. So in the last two years certain things have dawned on me – and some of it is very subjective so feel free to disagree.

Trust your gut feeling

You know when you have that awkward gut feeling about a situation or a person and yet your mind disagrees with it? Your mind is an idiot, always trust your gut! Us women have a way of knowing things without verbal or visual confirmation of what is actually happening. It’s some form of a heightened sensitivity to all sorts of social situations or people, an ability to sniff out bullshit. I never used to take my gut feelings seriously but why wouldn’t you? At least be extra cautious for your own sake. If the gut feeling is indeed wrong (and it rarely is but it can happen) it will subside.

Leave work at work

Look, I work to live I don’t live to work. Yes, I do have crazy ambition and desire to be respected for what I do but in the end of the day, I don’t work in a business that I own or have any serious stake in and frankly, sometimes people are downright rude and difficult. I deserve some time away, cuddling my dogs and pestering my man to cook dinner.

And all that “first one in the office, last one to leave” corporate culture really bugs me too… because you know what – if you spend 12 hours at work every day instead of 8, it doesn’t make you a good employee, it just shows poor time management skills. You’re snowed in with too much work? Say something about it then, because it’s not fair for you to be burdened with 3-person workload. Simples!

No one owes you anything

You should be able to switch off but equally – if you don’t work for what you want to achieve, it’s just not going to happen. You are in charge of your career path and no one, I repeat NO ONE, will come to you and say: “Hey Boyana, you know that Photoshop course you’ve been dying to take? Here’s some money and 5 days off work, go do it!” or “Hey Boyana, there is a great job for you in my new team, why don’t you apply for it?” No one owes you that and no one will give you anything unless you ask for it – sometimes politely, other times more assertively. If you work in a decent company, there are normally decent opportunities around, take a look and see what will benefit you most.

Or if you actually don’t have a job and you’re stuck in a limbo of paths and options – just do your research! That’s my advice before you go into a company or industry. Do your research and stick to what you want to do 100%, no compromise – you will make it happen eventually. And if you’re unsure, try lots of things! You will figure it out even if you have to bust your bum to get it. That’s the advice I wish I had received 4 years ago when I graduated…

People will leave and that’s OK

Any One Tree Hill fans out there who remember Payton’s traffic light drawing saying people always leave? Ah, good old, slightly grim teenage years! But seriously… People do leave and that’s okay. Stick to your close people and you will be fine. And if they leave too then there was a reason and life goes on for everybody. Hindsight is an amazing thing and if it sucks now, you will later see how it was actually okay. This one is short and sweet, not much more to say.

I still have so many question marks hanging over my head daily – things like what and where is home , can a person be fully uprooted from one place and feel comfortable elsewhere, isn’t it all about the people really? And other questions, like whether it’s acceptable to have potatoes for dinner every single night. I imagine the answer to the latter one is no so I would like to say I am definitely not having potatoes for dinner every single night.

Is that remotely interesting for anyone to read? Who knows, it is therapeutic for me though.

Stay tuned, people. 

Saturday, 21 July 2018

The new skincare heroes - Drunk Elephant

This post was originally meant to focus on several products/ brands but I started writing about the first one and it went on and on… I decided to share all I have to say rather than cut it down to the bare minimum – hope it’s useful!

If you are a beauty / skincare obsessed gal, you would have heard of the brand Drunk Elephant – founded by a lady called Tiffany Masterson not too long ago, it has taken the skincare world by storm and I kept seeing it on various YouTube channels and Instagram accounts. I did my reading and research (if you want to learn more about the brand I recommend a podcast called Breaking Beauty – there is an interview with the founder, which I found super interesting) and decided I  should try the brand’s products. I was obviously torn about what to get but the price point stopped me from going overboard with the purchases.

The brand is not sold in Europe yet (I think it’s coming to the UK in Sept/ Oct time in Space NK, or you can try Amazon) so I got my hands on it through the good old will-you-get-me-this-when-you-go-away way and presented my boyfriend with a photo of what he needed to retrieve for me from NY.

At $80 price-point, the baby facial doesn’t come cheap. I do like the packaging and the fact it comes with a mini Marula oil sample (another expensive one) to use after the facial. The price (I should hope) comes from the fact the product is packed with AHA and BHA meant to resurface and brighten dull skin.

The product itself is like a peel, which you should only use once a week really, leaving it on your face for about 20 mins. It’s got a thick yellowish consistency and let me tell you... if your face is not used to acid this will sting! However, it’s not unbearable at all and it subsides eventually. As per my research 25% of AHA is a serious concentration so I accepted it as normal. I don't think that super sensitive skin would take it very well though so be cautious. Upon application it feels tacky and the only inconvenience is that I look super shiny so I feel obliged to announce to everyone in the house I am wearing a mask and it’s not my skin being gross.

The results come with a disclaimer that I have a relatively good skin *knocks on wood*– I haven’t had serious acne issues, my skin is dry to combination and my issues are mainly dryness, dullness and discolouration.

Having said that, I am pretty happy with the results! My skin is brighter and smoother, all the issues above were addressed. I think it made a difference and it has helped my skin look and feel a lot better. I also like the Marula oil but there are a lot of alternatives out there – I went for The Ordinary’s Cold pressed Marula oil, which was a fraction of the price of the Drunk Elephant product. Stay tuned for a comparison.

Now, the question is how long is this bottle going to last me, because the price does sting a little too. If you are happy to bite the bullet though, I’d say it’s worth it – I would invest in good skincare rather than high-end make-up.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

5 Must-do things in Sri Lanka

I thought the first thing I could give you the low down on is our trip to Sri Lanka. It was genuinely the best time I've had and I'll share with you the top 5 highlights from the trip.

Little disclaimer here - I took all photos with my phone so apologies for the sub par quality. I do wish I'd taken my camera. 

We went to the South-West part of the island in November and our route was Colombo (didn't spend actual time there though) - Kandy - Ella - Tangalle - Galle - Bentota - Colombo (to go back).

1. Train from Kandy to Ella 

The train from Kandy to Ella is the most scenic ride I have been on - the track is quite high up in the mountains so you get to see the most breathtaking views. The journey is 5 hours long but don't be put off by it! I was also not keen to get on public transport but 99.5% of people on that train were tourists and it felt really safe. We pre-booked a first class ticket to be in the air-conditioned carriage - that cost about £15 per person. We could have easily gone second class I think, it's high up in the mountain anyway so not that hot at all - Ella is quite chilly in the evening even (at least by my standards).

The Sri Lankans are not that great with health and safety it seems - tourists hang from the wide-open train doors. My rational, prematurely old mind was screaming not to do it but my little adventurous spark absolutely loved it. My boyfriend just sat at one of the doors and didn't leave till we got to Ella.

2. Mountains in Ella 

Little Adam's Peak

Ella was lovely - again lots of tourists, young backpackers etc. It never felt noisy or annoying though, everyone was doing their own thing, which I really liked.

There we hiked up to Little Adam's Peak - we got a tuk tuk from town and he dropped us by the trail -  from there on it's a 30,40 mins walk / climb to the peak. It's really beautiful and definitely worth seeing. Don't be put off by the words "hiking" or "climbing", it's not a big deal at all and you get the return of awesome views.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Here we go again...

Hello, hello!

It's been a while.. almost 2 years to the date to be precise. I am not sure why it's taken me so long to come back given I have missed writing here a lot. Boyfriend suggested I blame it on Brexit - would that slide?

So here we are with a new name, new domain and renewed power. I did get rid of the "Snow White" because it didn't feel quite right - I am not a Snow White by any means. That's how I ended up with the first letter of my name, which works with the way some people call me anyway. Also, the domain name was cheap - maybe because it's too close to bin which I almost missed when I first started looking at what's free (THAT would have been a good one!).  

If you've been to my Wonderland before you'd know what to expect in the future - definitely more of the same old beauty stuff (I have become even more beauty obsessed, let me tell ya) and some new things like travelling and random life ramblings.

I can't promise I will be regular but I will do my best to keep the momentum going. Expect some travel updates - I went on the coolest trip to Sri Lanka last year. Skincare, makeup, doggies (I am a full-time dog mum now) and hopefully more good stuff for you to take a peek at.

Best place for regular(ish) posts is definitely Insta - @snow_white_in_wonderland - I will stay Snow White on there for the time being. 

Here is to fresh starts and a more puppy talk than ever before. 

Stay tuned while I prep the next one :)

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