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.

 

struggling depression drown drowning unhappy choices life self-help happy positive negative feelings

 

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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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.

 

MOTIVATIONAL QUOTE C.S. LEWIS HELP SELF-HELP CAREER ADVICE DEPRESSION SUFFERING

 

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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Defeating the Biggest Enemy of Them All

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She’s always there; chatting away.  Giving ideas, letting me get excited, then taking them away in the next breath. The only compliments are sarcastic.  A quick ‘well done clumsy’, when I drop something; knock a glass over; break a treasured possession.

She senses when I feel proud of myself; when I have achieved something. Up she pops, to bring me back to earth with a crash.  She’ll remind me that it was probably a fluke, it must be – I am a fraud after all. ‘No you don’t’, she says ‘don’t you go getting all high and mighty now. We can’t have you believing in yourself now, can we?

‘You are distinctly AVERAGE’

 

She reminds me of my flaws, should I ever forget. Tells me I’m not attractive, clever, or interesting enough to be a success. She points out the goals that I haven’t achieved, laughs in the face of my dreams and ambitions.

 

She’s there now as I type.  Pouring doubt over me like acid rain.

 

She won’t be quiet.

 

My inner voice.

 

Things are going to change.

I’ve got news for you, Inner Voice.  You’re fired.

I’m not taking your advice anymore.

I’m going to replace you.

I can do it.

I will do it.

I will succeed.

I will be someone.

I will be remembered.

I will achieve my goals.

 

I will do it day by day. I will make a plan, and stick to it.

I will look into my children’s eyes and remember – I created human beings. I am responsible for others now.

I will be their inner voice.

 

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How Yoga has Changed My Life

Why Yoga?

I have done yoga on and off for years.  It started as a method of relaxation, and a way to stretch out tired muscles.  I also have a tendency to suffer from headaches. All the time.  Mainly tension headaches (originating in my neck, back and shoulders), but sometimes dehydration headaches, and – until I recently renewed my glasses prescription – eye strain headaches.

**Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This is simply my experience of using yoga to help with headaches, as well as for exercise.  I do suffer from headaches, they are a nuisance, but they are not chronic and are not migraines**

 

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Because I am so prone to them, it would not be an exaggeration to say I live in fear of that familiar tightening at the base of my skull. I know that there is a fairly good chance that I will suffer from a headache if I spend a day out and about (because I’m an introvert, but that’s a whole other blog post). If I spend too long staring at a screen (iPad, PC etc) I will end up with some degree of aching in the noggin.  I am constantly drinking water, not just because I like the way it helps keep my skin clear, but because I am terrified of becoming too dehydrated.  Am I sounding like I have issues yet?

 

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Then a few years ago I discovered the wonder that is yoga.  It works like magic.  Within minutes, I can feel the tension draining from my overly tight muscles.  At the beginning of this year I started running in the morning, and as my cool down I will do between 20 and 40 minutes of yoga. I never thought I would be someone who would enjoy working out, but I actually look forward to my hour or so of activity each day.

 

Yoga in The Home

For the yoga, I use a couple of different sources.  I have a few apps on my iPad (my favourite is Yoga Studio) that allow me to choose the length and difficulty of a session.  Of course, YouTube was also a revelation to me. It would be fair to say that YouTube is one of my guilty pleasures.  I even wrote about my Favourite Beauty YouTube Channels.  However, it was only recently that I discovered what a fantastic resource YouTube is for yoga.   My top two are Yoga By Candace, and Yoga With Adriene.

For straight to the point yoga, Candace is amazing.  She is strong, but real.  I love that she wobbles a bit, but makes it look easy at the same time.  When I want a proper sweaty workout (rather than a stretching relaxing one) I will choose Candace.  She does a mix of voiceovers and talk-throughs, and there is no filling or fluff.  Her yoga is varied, and I usually choose her Power Yoga videos.

Adriene, on the other hand, is relaxed and chatty.  She makes you work without even realising it’s happening, because she makes you feel like you’re working out with a friend.  What I love about Adriene is that she encourages you, (there’s a lot of ‘keep going my friend’s) and lets you know how many breaths are left in the more challenging poses.  Her style won’t be for everyone, and I do sometimes find myself urging her, in my mind, to stop talking and change poses. But only because it’s hurting.  And I am a wimp.

 

Yoga for Weight loss

But what about progress? Well, I am not looking like a yoga expert yet, and in fact I don’t see a difference at all.  However, there definitely IS a difference.  Three months ago I couldn’t do more than 10 seconds of plank without shaking like a leaf, and now I can not only hold it, but also move smoothly to the next pose.  I can even do side plank, which I honestly thought would never be possible.

Personally, I haven’t lost any weight since starting my yoga journey (ooh, get me) and that was never really the aim.  I started it as a way to get strong, and I am making steady progress in that respect.  I know there are a lot of people who swear by yoga for losing weight, and that’s great.  However, the main positive for me (other than the fabulous loosening of my aging muscles – four pregnancies took their toll) is that yoga has made me want to be healthy.  I finish a session, and I want to reach for a healthy snack more often than not (of course biscuits will always have a special place in my heart).

 

And the best thing? You really don’t need anything specific.  A mat is a good idea, but even that is not essential to begin with. Yoga is best done with comfortable clothing, and bare feet.

Yoga has helped massively with my tension headaches, and starts my day off in the best possible way.  It’s making me stronger, and more flexible.  In fact the only challenge is trying to hold downward dog while my toddler uses me as a bridge.

 

 

 

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Midweek Motivation

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.- Martin Luther King

 

Ok, so this is not strictly speaking motivation to get us through a bad week.  But sometimes these things just need saying don’t they? Occasionally, I think we get a little bit caught up in hating.  Some people seem to actively seek out things, and people, to hate.

Why though? Does it make us feel better to criticise others? Does it satisfy us to hate, lash out and correct people? To make them feel small? To put them down? Maybe for a moment, but not long term.  It’s human nature, I get that.  Life would be exceptionally boring if we all had the same thoughts and opinions.  If nobody disagreed, and we were all going in the same direction.  Can we live and let live? Accept the differences of others? Ignore the bad, and encourage the good?

Let’s all be kind today.  The End.

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Midweek Motivation

inspirational quote teddy roosevelt believe you can

 

Have a great week!

Need more motivation? Check these posts out.

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How to Look After Your Skin when Hormones Try to Ruin Your Life

Warning: I do use the word period in this blog post. Maybe don’t read it if you’re easily icked-out.

When I was a teenager, the most overused word in our house was ‘hormones’. If I had a pound every time my mum blamed something on hormones, I would be very rich now. I used to think she was trying to aggravate me, but as a (slightly) more rational adult, I can see that she was right.

 

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Our hormones – basically chemical messengers – are responsible for a whole lot of upheaval in our bodies. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change; even as so-called adults. (I still wouldn’t describe myself as an adult, even though I’m on the wrong side of 30, and am responsible for several little people).

I don’t know about you, but in the days approaching my period I feel disgusting. There really is no other way to describe it. So, what’s going on? Why do our bodies torture us so? And, what does it mean for our skin?

*An average cycle is 28 days, from the first day of your period to the end of the cycle (the day before your period starts).  Of course, that doesn’t mean your cycle is 28 days, so these time-frames are simply a guide. *

 

Days 1-7

WHAT’S GOING ON?!

Day 1 is the first day of your period, and – depending on the length of your cycle – day 7 would be the end. At this time, your body produces more prostaglandin. This annoying, but necessary, group of hormones deal with tissue damage; they help to repair injuries and infection. They affect us during our cycle by increasing pain sensitivity. During your period, you may notice that your skin is extra sensitive, and you may suffer from flushing more than usual. Now is not the time to get your bikini line waxed.

HOW SHOULD I TAKE CARE OF MY SKIN?

One word: pamper it (sorry, two). In addition to the increase in prostaglandin, oestrogen is now decreased. This causes the skin to be more dry than usual, and makes lines and wrinkles (if you have any) more prominent. These few days would be a good opportunity to relax with a hydrating face mask (sheet masks are my favourite for this). Nothing too aggressive, and try and choose a mask that contains hyaluronic acid. This naturally occurs in our bodies, and – in very simplistic terms – holds water.

 

Days 7-10

WHAT’S GOING ON?!

Your period is probably over now, and you should be feeling gooood. Your ovaries will be producing higher levels of oestrogen again, so your skin should be plumper and more hydrated. Seratonin levels will be higher, this is the feel good hormone, resulting in general happiness. Oestrogen encourages the production of Collagen, which acts as a plumper and firmer for the skin.

 

HOW SHOULD I TAKE CARE OF MY SKIN?

Now is an excellent time to step up the exfoliation routine. New skins cells are forming, meaning that you will want to get rid of the old ones. Dead skin cells cause the face to look dull and grey, so it makes sense that sloughing them away will leave skin looking brighter.

 

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Days 12 – 16

WHAT’S GOING ON?!

Ovulation will occur soon, which means Mother Nature wants you looking your best (typical interfering mother). In order to attract a good mate to fertilise that egg, you’ll need to be glowing and fabulous. During these few days, you will hopefully be looking plumper, and firmer, than ever before. Collagen production is at an all-time high, which is good news for that face of yours, and bad news for wrinkles and lines.

 

HOW SHOULD I TAKE CARE OF MY SKIN?

You may find your make-up applies better, and you’ll be ready for anything. Enjoy it, because the next couple of weeks are going to be rough….

 

Days 17 – 24

WHAT’S GOING ON?!

Remember how increased oestrogen makes the skin more dry and dehydrated? Well, now oestrogen’s evil step-sister takes over. Progesterone is one unpleasant b***h. With increased progesterone comes increased sebum. That’s right, now even the driest skins may find they contain more oils than a massage parlour. Increased oils means one thing: blocked pores and spots.

 

HOW SHOULD I TAKE CARE OF MY SKIN?

Keep it clean. You may find you need to switch up your skincare products a bit during these days.  Use a gentle cleanser, and wash twice a day. Any more and you could strip the oils away, which may sound like a good thing, but when the skin feels stripped it will produce more oils to compensate. Exfoliating can increase oil production, so be gentle.

 

Days 25-28

WHAT’S GOING ON?!

Progesterone and Oestrogen levels now take a dive, and this causes the lining of the uterus to shed.  You’ll more than likely be feeling pretty rubbish now.  Spots may still be present and accounted for, and you may have cramps and bloating.  Oh joy.

 

HOW SHOULD I TAKE CARE OF MY SKIN?

You are about to enter into the sensitive zone (see days 1-7), so go easy, and keep it clean.  It will probably be too late to do anything about the spots at this stage, so use a gentle cleanser, and pamper as you see fit.

 

 

IS THERE A WAY TO REDUCE MONTHLY BREAKOUTS?

  • Try to avoid touching your skin.  Easier said than done, unfortunately.  Touching spots, and generally fiddling with skin is the surest way to spread bacteria, increasing the amount of spots.
  • Clean your mobile.  Phones are a breeding ground for bacteria. Assuming you use your phone in the old-fashioned way (did you know you can talk to people on it?!) then it can be a problem for your skin.  The chin and jaw are the most common area for hormonal breakouts, and where do you hold your phone? Up against your jaw and chin (sort of).  Of course water and mobiles don’t mix, so clean with care.  I use anti-bacterial wipes personally, just be sure to not get anything too wet.
  • Don’t smoke. As well as making you smell pretty rank, smoking affects your skin.  Oh, and it causes cancer, but I’m sure you knew that already.
  • Practise good hygiene.  Clean your skin regularly, and always take your make-up off properly before bed!  Cleanse, tone, moisturise.  At a minimum. Serums can be an important step too, if you have the funds (a good serum can be pricey).
  • Clean your tools! I am very guilty of not doing this (I hate cleaning my brushes and sponges) but it is SO important.  Brushes and beauty sponges contain bacteria, there is no two ways about it.  The best way to avoid swirling dirt and grime all over your lovely clean face? Keeping those brushes clean and sparkly.

Are you still there? That was a long one, I know.  If you made it this far, then thank you, and I hope you learned something about how hormones change the way our skin behaves throughout the month.

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Three Little Words

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I was cross, tired and weary.  Bed times in our house had become more and more drawn out over the last few months.  The boys (11 and 7) are usually no trouble; they amuse themselves quietly until bed time.

The girls on the other hand? Not so much. Not naughty; just mischievous.  Cheeky; not badly behaved.  Still, that doesn’t make it any easier.  My body seems to shut down after dinner.  It’s been on the go all day; running, cleaning, playing, cooking, washing, dressing, driving, walking.  By 7pm I’ve had it.  My husband is in charge of bath time.  That’s his chance to catch up, play, and read stories.  I pop in and out in between sorting laundry, and organising uniforms for the next day. I pick up any stray toys, collect the multitude of cups that are strewn around the house (why can’t children use the same cup more than once?!)  I look forward to the couple of hours of peace and quiet, before I pass out from exhaustion.

On this particular evening, I was more keen than usual to get back downstairs to unwind; Netflix was calling my name.  It had been a long day. I trudged up the stairs one more time.  Settled my youngest (18 months); and told her sister to please ‘shhh’ (she is 4).  As I was leaving the room, I heard a little voice; ‘Mummy’.  What now?! I thought.  I turned, wearily, ‘what is it?’.

A pause.

 

‘I love you mummy’.

 

My heart melted.

Welcome to parenthood.  Taking the rough with the smooth since time began.

 

 

 

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