Lessons From a Four Year Old #2 – Have Fun

Do you have enough fun in your life?


When I became a parent, I thought that I would be the one doing the teaching.  I assumed I would teach my children life skills – speaking and dressing themselves – as well as social skills – not killing each other, being kind.  So far mission accomplished. I have four reasonably well-mannered, kind children who make me proud every day.


lessons how to have fun be happy in life



What I didn’t expect, however, was for them to teach me fun stuff too.  But they do.  Constantly!

Recently, I wrote about how my four year old daughter has shown me how not to have fear.  I have been trying to follow her (albeit inadvertent) advice, with varied results.  Then, lo and behold, another lesson!


We were at my son’s Sports Day back in July, and •terrible mother alert• I was bored.  Daughter number two was in her pushchair, and the four year old was roaming free, like a wild animal.

As well as watching my eleven year old trying his hardest to win all the races, I was also half watching daughter number one. Making sure that she didn’t disappear – as children are so good at doing in the millisecond that you take your eyes off them – or injure herself.

While watching her, I realised something rather extraordinary, she wasn’t bored.  She was having a great time!  She was running, and jumping and skipping, and rolling down a hill, then running up it and rolling down again.


Meanwhile, boring old me was checking my watch every six seconds, and wishing for the end to come. (The end of Sports Day, not the end of the world – it wasn’t that bad).  As I watched her, I thought, why can’t I have fun like that? Why can’t I be that carefree and joyous?


And then newsflash;

 ‘Wait, I can be!’

I know life gets in the way sometimes, and, let’s be fair here, my four year old doesn’t have to worry about paying bills, or whether the strange noise that the car is making means something is wrong (it did, and yes, it was expensive).


But really, we should be trying to enjoy our lives.  Who’s to say we can’t skip, and roll down hills as an adult? Just because we have crippling credit card debt, and other worries, doesn’t mean we should let it consume us.

Sometimes, we need to just let it go, and be silly.  So what if other people look at you and think you’re completely insane? They are just jealous that you can do 12 cartwheels in a row.

Laughter is the best medicine.  It relieves stress, and makes us live longer.  What’s not to love?

So sing, dance, watch a funny film, and just laugh.  Go and catch those Pokemon, if that’s what makes you happy.

I speak from experience when I say that a low mood can be a slippery slope.  When I made a conscious effort to climb out of the darkness, I saw a vast improvement in my life.  Yes, the problems are still there, and no, I don’t own a yacht yet, but day to day life is a lot less miserable.


I’m sorry for the cliche, but it has to be said: life is short. So please enjoy it!

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How to Make Jealousy Work in Your Favour

Jealousy, what a pain in my butt. Bizarrely, in my marriage, I’m not a jealous person whatsoever. I put this down to the fact that I feel secure, and I know that my husband would never do anything daft that would put our family at risk.  In other areas of life, however, it can be a different story.


It can be really hard not to feel envious of people that are enjoying their success, particularly when things may not be going in the direction that we want them to.


jealousy jealous envy positivity negativity happy successful money work career blogging better how to be better using jealousy in a positive way

Where does the jealousy come from? It is more than likely caused by dissatisfaction in your own life, whether you recognise it or not.  It’s human nature, we want more, and we want what ‘they’ have.  Remember, there is no shame.  Not if we use it to make ourselves better, not bitter.

For example, I don’t feel threatened when my husband can’t keep his eyes off the backside of the 20 year old that has just passed by our table in the restaurant. He can look, because I know he won’t touch.  (I realise this makes him sound like a lech, but he really isn’t).

When I see others having personal successes though, I find it harder to be quite so dismissive. That little voice will start, the one that reminds me there are many career goals that I still have not achieved.

So, what to do? How do we turn jealousy into a positive emotion? Well, like anything, it is a choice.

You can choose to let it consume you, and turn you into a bitter person.  Or you can celebrate the success of your peers, and utilise those feelings of envy.  Jealousy can be motivational, if we let it. Look at what exactly that person is doing that you want for yourself, then go out and get it.

Maybe you can get in touch with them and ask how they did it.  Will they be a mentor for you? Have they written blog posts, books, or do they offer teaching? Consume a bit of their brilliance, and use it to fuel your own success.

Make a plan, and write it down (or blog about it).  Choose that friend or family member who is always in your corner, and tell them. Find your own cheerleader, and check in with them. Tell them how you’re getting on, and get them to pester you about it.

Set mini goals within the bigger goal, and celebrate when (not if) you hit them.

Work harder, work smarter, and focus on the end goal. Instead of looking at what they have that you don’t, look at what you can learn from them.


Use their success to work out what you want from life. 




Now go! Get on it, and work towards your goals.

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What Does it Feel Like When You’re an Introvert?

Are you an introvert, or an extrovert?

I try not to label or judge people in my day today life; there’s already enough of that going on daily on social media. However, when it comes to judging myself, I’ll go all out. Especially when it helps me to understand the reason behind my various personality quirks.

It took me 30 years to come to the conclusion that I am an introvert (apparently I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer).  But as soon as I did, it was like a light bulb going on. I saw stars and rainbows and heard unicorns singing. Everything made sense suddenly!

So, what are the main characteristics of introversion, and what is the difference between introverts and extroverts? To put it simply, introverts tend to look inwards, finding stimulation from inside.  Extroverts, on the other hand, find stimulation from their outside environment.  Introverts find other people draining, extroverts ‘feed’ off others.


feel like feelings introvert introversion extrovert personality shy talkative arrogant type


Small talk is just plain awkward, and mingling is – quite frankly – terrifying. This isn’t because we don’t like people, it’s just that small talk is hard work, we would much rather get stuck in with a proper conversation. If an introvert goes to a party, they aren’t there to make new friends; they are there to talk to the ones they already have. We would rather skip to the good friends stage, without all the awkward ‘getting to know you’ stuff beforehand.

This can often lead to introverts being labelled as too intense. You’ve just met someone and they are already discussing the complexities of bringing girls up in an image obsessed world, before you’ve even covered what the weather is doing? There’s a good chance your new friend is an introvert.

Do you have a friend that never answers the phone to you, but will happily text you back straight away? Probably an introvert.  We like a little bit of time to mentally prepare ourselves to talk, even to close friends. We don’t like the surprise of an unexpected phone call, although texting/emailing/tweeting is perfectly acceptable.

This can result in an introvert feeling alone, even in a crowd.   Have you ever felt like the party is just going on around you, and you’re the only one that doesn’t fit in? Everyone else is having fun and bonding, and you’re over here thinking of funny and engaging topics of conversation, but feeling too overwhelmed to join in. Sometimes the isolation will be self-imposed.  An introvert will typically choose very carefully where they sit in public places. We don’t like to feel trapped, so will choose end seats, and those that don’t leave us surrounded by people.  And anything with audience participation? That’s the stuff of actual nightmares.


Introverts can often come across as very wise and thoughtful. As a general rule, we think before we speak, and are not as outspoken as our extroverted friends. There is an internal monologue going on in there that just won’t take a break, making us seem more serious than our extroverted peers. As an introvert, this can be frustrating.  I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have been so caught up in arguing with myself inside my head, that I have been unable to contribute to a conversation going on around me. Then, in the car going home I will suddenly come up with the perfect, hilarious-yet-thought-provoking response that would have (I’m certain) made everyone roll around on the floor laughing.

The world can sometimes seem too much to an introvert. With the stresses that come with socialising, and generally being ‘up’ comes a big crash.  Being around others, and even being out for the day in a busy environment, is exhausting.  This means that for an introvert, down time is essential. Personally, the only way I can recharge my batteries is with time alone. Sitting, preferably doing very little. This isn’t lazy time, it is self-preservation time.

Career-wise, introverts will probably gravitate towards some sort of solitary profession, such as a writer (what a coincidence).  Whereas an extrovert may find it unbearable to be on their own all day, and would go quietly mad with nobody around to talk to. One of the downsides of being an introvert is the ease with which we are distracted.  Because we find the outside world so overly-stimulating, it can be hard to focus on the task in hand.

There are a couple of positives to being introverted too, I promise.

Introverts are great listeners, and make excellent friends.  Assuming you can get them to answer the phone to you that is.

Often we would rather be an expert on one topic than a general know-all.  We can focus well (when there aren’t too many distractions), and make great learners (I suspect my secondary school teachers would dispute this, but in my defence school was boring).  We also notice details that others don’t, because of the whole taking a step back and observing thing.

If you are an introvert, you will identify with how it feels, and if you’re an extrovert, I hope this helps you to understand the complex workings of that special introvert in your life.  I’m off to get my husband (the extrovert) to read this now; it may help him to feel less offended next time I leave the room mid conversation.  After spending my days with chatty two and four year olds, sometimes I just need to be able to disconnect from all the talking.  Just. So. Much. Talking.


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How to Get More From Your Make-Up Brushes

I am going to be pretty direct here.  If you wear more than one eyeshadow colour at a time, then you need the Vera Mona Color Switch in your life.

I spend a fair bit on make-up, perfume and various other non-essentials, so when I find a tool that is relatively inexpensive AND useful, I get very excited, and I have to share it with everyone I know.


make-up brushes clean cleaner vera mona color switch colour eyeshadow brush sponge


The idea of the Color Switch is to take all the colour off the brush, in theory allowing you to use a single brush for an entire make-up look.  For someone that likes to experiment with colour (despite my complete lack of make-up artistry skills), this handy tool is probably one of the best purchases I have ever made.  Yes, I feel that strongly about it.

Having seen it used several times on YouTube videos, I decided quite early on that I must have one at some point. In all honesty, I expected it to be mega expensive, so didn’t exactly rush to search for one, but it was always in the back of my mind.

Recently though, I was browsing on Beauty Bay, trying to get my order over £15 to get free delivery (I was repurchasing the wonderful Mario Badescu facial spray, which is £10.25, if you’re wondering).  I stumbled across the Color Switch and was surprised that a) it is stocked in the UK (these things so often are not) and b) that it was only £13.50 (Here).  (£13.50 may sound a lot, but the sponge can be washed, and it will last a very long time)


vera mona color switch colour switch make-up makeup brushes cleaning clean eyeshadow

Above is a nice clean (never used) eyeshadow brush.  Below, is the same brush after being dipped in purple eyeshadow.


vera mona color switch colour switch make-up makeup brushes cleaning clean eyeshadow


And then…. as if by magic….


vera mona color switch colour switch make-up makeup brushes cleaning clean eyeshadow


This is the same brush after being swirled around on the Color Switch.  It takes seconds, and couldn’t be simpler.  Now, as you can see, there is a little bit of staining to the brush, so it’s not ‘clean clean’.  But it is definitely clean enough to continue on with another eyeshadow shade.

Of course, brushes still need to be washed regularly, because the Color Switch won’t sanitise them.  (For that, I like to use this little tool).


I really can’t recommend this little wonder from Vera Mona highly enough. (And no, this post is not sponsored or paid for in any way.)


Have you tried the Color Switch? What do you think of it?


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Choosing to Leave the Pity Party

Life is a series of choices.  From little ones – what to have on your toast in the morning. To giant ones – whether to go to university, and what to study.  When things go wrong, it’s too easy to get sucked into feeling sorry for yourself.  I know from experience that this can be dangerous.


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I chose to climb out of the water; not to let myself drown.  It’s not always the easiest choice to make. It takes less effort to drown, but it is painful and unpleasant.  Having someone that you trust to pull you out helps, but if that isn’t an option then don’t despair.

You are stronger than you think.


Why not choose to keep your head above the water?


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Lessons From a Four Year Old – No Fear

In an attempt to get my s*it together recently, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about life, the universe and everything.


fear success failing teaching children being successful career advice help self-help quote nina simone



I have spent a small fortune on self-help books, and have googled topics such as, ‘how to be happy’; ‘who am I?’; ‘how to find your calling in life’, and ‘who did Negan kill?’ (my money’s on Michonne FYI).

While all of this has been super helpful, the most valuable lesson came from my four year old daughter.

It came about one ordinary day as I was getting my youngest daughter changed in her bedroom. The four year old started coming up to join us, and – rather than climbing the stairs in the usual manner – decided to impersonate a crab. She was doing this strange tilting, sideways walk, that was making me increasingly nervous. Just to let you know, I try not to be an anxious parent, but in my eleven years as a mother I have witnessed more than my fair share of children falling down stairs. Mostly it’s been my eldest tumbling head over heels, and landing with a thud at the bottom. For some reason he just can’t  seem to get the hang of the order that his feet need to move in. So, anyway, back to child number three. She safely made it to the top, even with me hovering anxiously at the top distracting her from her crabby mission.

I must have told her to be careful about 2,987 times, and when she got to the top I breathed a sigh of relief.

‘You need to be careful’, I told her.  ‘You could have fallen down the stairs’.

My worldly wise four year old looked at me with her enormous brown eyes, and innocently smiled. ‘But I didn’t, mummy’.

And there it was. A valuable life lesson.  Apparently, my third-born child knows more about these things than her scaredy-cat mother.  Of course, fear is a good thing, it keeps us sensible and stops the human race dying out.  But what about when we let fear take over, turning us into underachieving bores?  I know I am definitely guilty of letting fear get in the way.


I have so many goals, so many things I want to achieve before I die.  Not crazy, ridiculous goals, but fully achievable goals. If I put my mind to it, I can totally do everything I have on my Big List of Dreams.  So, what’s stopping you, moron?! I hear you cry.

Other than a lack of time (poor excuse), there’s only one thing standing in the way of me and heart-bursting fulfilment. Fear.

‘What if I fail?’

‘What if I’m not good enough?’

‘What if people laugh at me?’

Well, so what? What if I succeed? What if I’m brilliant? What if people are impressed?

                  Isn’t it worth the risk?

Are you letting fear stand in your way too? Maybe there’s something that you have longed to do, whether that be in your career, or in your personal life.  Maybe you too hear that voice in your head warning you off?

I’m here to tell you to go for it.

Clearly, I’m not recommending that you do anything that would put your life at risk, or leave you bankrupt, or ruin your relationship.  Think back to being a child, if it helps. Back to the days when anything seemed possible.  As children, before the world gets its claws into us, we see no reason not to announce that we want to be a unicorn.  My daughter wants to be a fairy (when she’s not being a crab that is).  She’s not scared that she won’t be any good at it, or that she won’t have the shiniest wings out of all her fairy friends. She sees her future as a fairy, and who am I to tell her otherwise? She has no fear whatsoever.

So, what’s stopping you? Take that first step. Work towards becoming the person you thought you would grow up to be. You owe it to your four year old self.

Just remember this: It might not end in embarrassment or failure.  It might end up being the best decision you ever made.


And if you’re reading this secure in the knowledge that you haven’t let fear stop you, and are properly grabbing life by the balls, then I salute you. Look out for me on the other side.


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ColourPop Haul and Review

Around this time last year, I wrote a post complaining about the fact that ColourPop don’t ship to the UK (#firstworldproblems). I was aware that there were ways of getting around this, but I was always too nervous to give it a go.  Every now and then I would Google different companies that ship to the UK, and would be put off by the high charges.


colourpop super shock shadows trickery dreamcatcher smokin' whistles weenie hanky panky effect liberty get paid get lucky

I eventually decided to just go for it (helped along by the offer of twenty percent off the entire ColourPop website), and so then began the mammoth task of choosing between all the amazing looking products.

After staring at pictures of highlighters and blushers for what felt like hours, I eventually narrowed down my selection to a few eyeshadows, a blusher, an eyeliner and two highlighters.

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ColourPop Dreamcatcher


Being a highlighter addict, I was most looking forward to playing with Dreamcatcher and Smokin’ Whistles. I wasn’t disappointed when I swatched them initially – they really are gorgeous.  Dream Catcher is the more gold of the two; Smokin’ Whistles is almost white when applied, although it doesn’t look it in the pan.  If you aren’t familiar with ColourPop products, the formula is like nothing else I have ever used.  The highlighters are silky, and almost wet feeling, but they aren’t creamy on the skin.  It is really quite a bizarre texture.  They are springy in the pan, and as light as a feather to the touch.


smokin whistles smoke n whistles highlighter blusher super shock face make-up


On the face though, the colour really doesn’t last and pretty much blend away to nothing. So disappointing for me, especially as Dream Catcher is absolutely stunning.


colourpop blusher trickery face make-up


The blusher – Trickery – on the other hand is just perfect.  In the pan it is pink and pretty, and on the skin it gives a gorgeous flush of colour.  It is subtle, and natural looking.  In fact, my favourite way to wear it is on days that I am pretending not to have any make-up on. ColourPop recommend that the best way to apply their blushers is with fingers, because of the unique formula. Trickery is a little different from the highlighters; it’s a bit drier and more powdery. Somewhere between a cream and a powder.


I was so keen to try the ColourPop eyeshadows, and reaallly struggled to control myself.  I could quite easily have ordered every single one. Five was the magic number on this occasion though, and I tried to get a range, while also choosing colours that would complement each other to some extent. The formula is just wow, and although some are more intense than others, they are all gorgeous, once you get the hang of applying them.



Hanky Panky (above, right) is a really pretty matte taupe colour, that works beautifully as a crease colour. I wear a lot of browns, bronzes and golds on my eyes, and Hanky Panky is suitable for all varieties of browns.  Being matte, it is very wearable all over the lid too.

Probably my least favourite is Effect (above, left), not because I don’t like the deep teal colour, but because it wasn’t the best choice for me. My eyes are, annoyingly, very deep set, and wearing dark colours can make them disappear into my head. I still do it though, because I like to wear dark colours. Effect can be a little patchy, and needs some work to get it to look acceptable. I usually put it very lightly in the crease, blended to the lightest version of itself. It looks particularly stunning with Liberty (below) on the lid. Liberty is straight up Tin Man silver. I get so excited when I use Liberty, I could honestly just sit and look at it for hours at a time.


colourpop liberty eyeshadow colour shock



Weenie (above, right)is the most gorgeous rose gold shimmery shade.  All the shades created by Kathleen Lights are gorgeous, but the first quad wasn’t available (Where The Light Is), so I just purchased Weenie. For now.

Get Lucky (above, left) is my ideal colour. My eyes are dark brown, and gold is probably my favourite eyeshadow shade to compliment them. Especially in the summer, with lots of bronzer and highlight.  It’s like I think I’m Jennifer Lopez or something.


colourpop super shock shadows matte
L-R; Liberty; Weenie; Get Lucky; Effect; Hanky Panky

Generally speaking, the eyeshadows are best applied with fingers, although I do use a brush for anything that needs blending out. The shimmery shades feel so unique to me; very cool to the touch and, like the highlighters, almost wet feeling. The matte colours are a little more like the traditional powder eyeshadow formulation.



Lastly, I did also purchase a Crème Gel eyeliner. Get Paid is a bronze eyeliner, and is soft and glide-y. The Crème Gel Liners can be blended out, but this needs to be done quickly.  Like, seriously quickly. I like to do one eye at a time, because once this baby dries, it isn’t going anywhere. My favourite way to wear Get Paid is on the bottom lash line and waterline, with not much on the top lid.


I’m glad I finally satisfied my curiosity and purchased some ColourPop.  The formula is odd, but excellent.  I suspect if I had easy access to their products, I would own the whole collection very quickly.  The added cost of having to ship from the US to the UK made it a little too expensive for my liking.  Even with the generous discount, and ColourPop’s already very affordable prices.

If ColourPop ever decide to ship to the UK, I will be a very happy (and poor) bunny.


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Getting Back on Track

Good morning…

So, things have been a little quiet in the world of Joyful Things these days. If you stumbled across my little blog over the last month you may have wondered whether I had given up, or simply dropped off the face of the earth.  Or perhaps you didn’t notice.  Either is fine.

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For me, my moods and emotions can be tracked by how much I blog.  For some, blogging is therapy, or release, for me it seems to be the first thing that suffers when life gets too much. Not because I don’t enjoy it.  Not at all; I would say that starting this blog was one of the best things I ever did. It has quite honestly changed my life.  This little break was purely because it seemed frivolous to be writing about my favourite makeup when in the midst of an apparent early midlife crisis. I actually think that is the first time I have been early for anything.

Things still haven’t resolved themselves really. I made an impulsive decision about my future, and it will take a miracle for that to go away. So if anyone has a direct line to God maybe you could put a word in for me, because it seems He doesn’t want to deal with my whining voice at the moment.



This post is likely to be a bit of a muddle, because my brain is in a bit of a muddle. It’s also not very helpful, and quite possibly not very interesting (this blog post, not my brain…)

I’m working on the mess, though. Sorting through the scattered papers on desks, floors, table tops and chairs inside the many rooms of my mind. I could employ a cleaner, but I have always been one to do things myself; not asking for help even when juggling more than I can comfortably handle. I’ll keep going until I finish, or drop from the weight of it all.

Whichever comes first.

I plan for normal service to resume soon.  Next week I finish with a project that has taken up way too much of my time over the last two months.  I’ll be able to take a break until the next phase, and I will be making the most of that time, to get my blogging mojo back.

My content may evolve and change a little, as I evolve and change a little. I hope that’s ok.


Anyway, thanks for taking a few moments to read my ramblings. I hope you will return when my blog becomes a little more Joyful Things, and a little less Moaning Things.

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Current Mood: Low

We are going to get a little bit real today, I’m afraid.

I’ve been having some feelings.  Not happy feelings, and I need an outlet.  No, it’s not about beauty, it’s not motivational, and it probably won’t help anyone. But I need to get some things out of my head before it cracks wide open. Stuff and things.




I have been neglecting my blog over the last couple of months, this is for a combination of reasons. I’m feeling a little unhappy; heavy, and weighed down by life.  I do have some wonderful little people in my life (four little ones actually) and they keep me going most of the time.  I am also very fortunate to have a supportive family around me.

So, I can’t really complain.  Yet, I still feel like something is missing.  I feel a heaviness in my heart, I feel like I’m underground, trying to find my way out, as blind as a mole. Trying this path, and that path – none of them right.  I can’t see the daylight.

There are things I want for my career that may or may not happen.  I’m currently training for a change in career path, and I don’t want to do it. It’s something that will benefit our family financially.  But in reality, it’s probably the last thing I want to be doing. In fact there’s no guarantee that I will get any work from it. The only benefit will be financial (no small thing, I know).

And, it’s leaving me even less time for hobbies;  to pursue other avenues.  Career options that I actually want to pursue.

So, is that it?

I’m not getting any younger.  Am I going to lie on my deathbed and think, what was all that for? Does it really matter? Should I just be happy with my lot, and make the most of it? Not everyone gets to do a job they love.  Some of us just have to pay the bills.

Why though? Why can’t I do something that I love, as well as pays the bills?

I’m sorry for the ramble, this probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I hope I don’t sound like a spoilt brat. That’s not really me, I just have some things to work through.


Until next time….


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