Midweek Motivation


If anyone can provide good advice it is the late, great Albert Einstein.  I simply cannot sum up his life in a few sentences.  He was a fascinating genius, whose scientific theories shaped how we understand our world today.   He was a lifelong pacifist, and believed that ‘peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding’.  Our lives would be so different if Einstein had not been given the brain that he was.  We have his scientific discoveries to thank for GPS; TVs and the remotes that control them; mobile phones; digital cameras, and computers. I possibly wouldn’t be here blogging without Albert Einstein.  Think about that for a minute.





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Running Tips for Beginners – From a Fellow Beginner

So this year – like every other year since time began – I decided that I would attempt to work on my fitness.  I’m not getting any younger, and huffing and puffing up the stairs is not cool.  This blog is where I share my beauty loves – amongst other things – and being skinny and fit makes you beautiful. Amiright?



So here are my tips, from one beginner to another:


1. Download a fitness tracker.  These apps tell you how far you’ve travelled, and how quickly.  Paired up with the right equipment, they’ll even record your heart rate.  That’s not the best bit though.   They also display the number of calories burned on your run.  Very useful when counting out biscuits later in the day.

2. Tweet those statistics! These apps often give you the option to tweet your results, or update Facebook with a smug status.  Make sure you do this after every run.  This can be a great way to connect with other runners; and to feel superior over everyone else.  Mini Tip: don’t share how many biscuits you have consumed – this will be between you and the biscuit tin.

3. Don’t run when it’s too hot.  You don’t want to end up all sweaty and nasty now, do you?  Also, don’t run when it’s too cold.  That cold air will make your nose run quicker than Usain Bolt – not cute. The cold air does keep the biscuits fresh though….

4. Eat healthily.  The reason for this is simple.  The less calories you stuff in your face throughout the day, the less you have to run.  Just make sure you factor in those biscuits (FYI, a Custard Cream contains 65 calories).

5. Weigh yourself after every run.  This will keep you motivated as you see the weight start to fall off.  It will also help you work out your daily cake allowance.  (You thought I was going to say biscuit then, didn’t you?)

6.  Just breathe.  Or not.  Are you self-conscious about sounding like an over-excited dog as you run past other people on your run? There is a simple solution to this; hold your breath as you pass them.  When you pass out from lack of oxygen, and roll elegantly along the path, your breathing will be the last thing they notice.  Oh.  And biscuits.

7.  Get the right equipment.  You don’t need to spend a fortune, but decent shoes and comfortable clothing will make each run a little less painful.  I also recommend a running belt.  This will hold your phone (don’t forget the running app!!) and biscuit stash.  You’ll need regular snack breaks, so make sure you are prepared.

And Finally:

8.  Just do it. Nobody is going to just hand you that gorgeous body on a plate, you are going to have to work for it.  Mmmmm, plate of biscuits.  Be right back.


What are your exercise tips?! Let me know in the comments below…..



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Midweek Motivation


No words today, other than; I hope you have a fantastic week.



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What Does Make-Up Mean to You?

Why do you Wear Make-Up?

I am guessing that if you are here, then make-up is probably quite a big part of your life (or maybe not, everyone is welcome here).  But what does it mean to you? Do you feel you need it to cover something up; or is it to enhance what you already have? Perhaps you just love to play, and don’t take it seriously at all.  Perhaps it is your job.  Or maybe you are artistic, and make-up is a way to be creative.





Having two daughters now, the eldest of which is four, has caused me to question exactly what part make-up plays in my life.  I plan to revisit the topic of make-up and children at a later date, because I think it is important.  For now though, I will say that I want my girls to find make-up fun.  I want them to know they are beautiful without, but if they want to experiment, then I will support that.


What Does Make-Up Mean to Me?

The way I feel about make-up is a little bit of everything above (except for the job part, make-up artistry is a bit too touchy-feely for me).  Fortunately for me, I don’t have any major flaws to cover, and I am perfectly happy going out without it to the school, or supermarket.  However, anything further, and I will apply something.  Is that because I look hideous without it? No. It is simply that I enjoy the process of priming, concealing, highlighting and all the other bits in between.  Because of various body-confidence issues, I have a complicated relationship with clothes (and food for that matter), but make-up is different.  You don’t need a never-ending budget, or even a huge amount of skill, to look presentable.  You can do the same look day in day out, or you can look like a different person from one day to the next.  I am not averse to spending an hour getting my face ready, when time allows.  This isn’t because of vanity, although I am sure to some it would seem that way.  It is simply my way of relaxing in a hectic – and at times stressful – day.

Do I wear it to attract men? In all honesty, no.  Of course, I am married, so I am not looking to attract anyone else, but I don’t apply make-up with my husband in mind either.  Is that wrong?! If I was trying to keep him interested, then I would probably go for masses of red lipstick, and fluttery lashes.  I’m not though; there is more to our relationship than that.  He’s seen me give birth four times; I think he can handle seeing me make-up free.  Is there anything wrong with wearing make-up to please your other half? Absolutely not, if that makes you happy too.



Make-Up Shaming

So what if you choose not to wear make-up? That’s ok too. Does it mean you don’t respect yourself?  We seem to have entered a time where celebrities are so much more accessible than they used to be.  Instagram; Snapchat; Twitter and the like, all enable us to get a little peek into the lives of the super-rich.  So why do we (fuelled by certain media outlets) want to pour shame and scorn on well-known faces, who choose not to dress up to go food shopping, or to take the dog to the vet.   Does someone who chooses not to wear make-up have no self-respect, or do they have so much that they don’t need make-up to feel better about themselves? It is hard not to be judgmental sometimes – it’s certainly something I struggle with.  When you see that woman walking along the street, wearing a tracksuit, hair a mess, bare faced, do you think ‘uggh’, or ‘good for her; she doesn’t care what anyone thinks’?  Does it really matter though? After all, it should be what’s inside that counts, more than whether someone has contoured their way to oblivion.


So, tell me, why do you wear make-up? Is it for fun? Or do you have other reasons? Please share your thoughts below in the comments!


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Midweek Motivation




Dr. Maya Angelou had an incredible life.  Born in the 1920s in St. Louis, Missouri, she became a young single mother shortly after graduating from high school. Despite having to work several jobs to support herself and her son, she still managed a successful career in the ’50s as a singer and performer.  This was followed by a stint in Egypt, and Ghana, in the ’60s working as a writer.  Angelou then went on to pen 36 books, 30 of which were bestseller.  The first of her books – I know Why the Caged Bird Sings – was the first non-fiction bestseller written by an African American woman.  What followed was a screenplay; an Emmy nomination and a Tony nomination for two of her acting roles; and several autobiographies and multiple poetry collections.

This is just the tip of the iceberg; Maya Angelou had many more accomplishments – a truly amazing woman.


Have a great week, and remember ‘You alone are enough…’

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Blogging Resolutions // 2016

Happy New Year’s Eve everybody! I hope you have had a happy Christmas – if you celebrate – and an enjoyable break.  My Christmas was filled with family and chaos – just how I like it.  Now on to a new start.  I typically don’t make resolutions at the start of a new year, because, quite honestly, I am rubbish at sticking to them.

However, what with my lack of focus during November and December I decided that a new start was needed.  This list is really for me to give myself a mental kick up the backside, and to remind myself of some goals for 2016.


Blogging Resolutions 2016


  1. BLOG MORE: This one is fairly self-explanatory, but I am aiming to blog much more frequently in 2016.  I hope to write 4 or more times a week. Eeek.
  2. BE MORE CREATIVE: When I first started blogging last year, I made the mistake of thinking that every post had to be about new products.  This resulted in many shopping trips (yay!) and a greatly reduced bank account (not yay).  Then, when I put myself on a spending ban, I found that I just didn’t know what to blog about.  Silly, eh?  This leads me on to….
  3. EXPAND MY SUBJECT MATTER: I am actually pretty nervous about this.  Looking back again to last summer when I began my blog, I was full of the enthusiasm of a newbie.  I was going to fill my blog with beauty; family; recipes; clothes and lifestyle blog posts! It was going to be wonderful! Then….it just didn’t happen.  Coupled with me doing some reading on how to have a successful blog, I let all of it get the better of me.  ‘You need to find your niche and stick to it like glue!’ everyone shouted.  Suffice to say, I have not ventured much out of the realm of beauty, which is absolutely fine, but it is just not me.  As much as make-up, skincare and the like are passions of mine, so is my family.  I don’t intend to fill Joyful Things with pictures of my children sitting on potties, eating their breakfast and having tantrums, but I hope to share some of my experiences of motherhood.  As for the clothes and recipes? That won’t ever happen – I don’t have what it takes to be a fashion blogger, and I don’t follow recipes so how can I share them?!
  4. IMPROVE MY PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS: I think this is not a unique goal, and it will be ongoing for the rest of my days I suspect.  I find taking photos for blog posts beyond stressful.   The amount of actual sweat I have shed trying to get the ‘perfect’ shot is ridiculous.  Weirdly, though, I love photography.  It brings me immeasurable pleasure to get my camera out and snap away.  My downfall is understanding camera settings – I am way too impatient to actually study the manual and work out what button does what.
  5. HAVE MORE CONFIDENCE: This is hard to even write, and I probably won’t stick to it, but I have to at least try, right?! I want to believe that I can do it, and then do it.  I want to believe that I can succeed as a writer, but there is still that little (well, quite loud actually) voice that tells me I am not as good as other bloggers.  My writing isn’t as good; my photography isn’t as good; I’m older than the rest of the world! These are all true (well, apart from the age thing – despite feeling past it, I am not) , but the battle is realising that it doesn’t matter.  I want to work on MY blog, and spend less time worrying about what everyone else is doing.  Especially if that means that I am holding myself back from doing what I want to do.
  6.  BE MORE ORGANISED: This is all encompassing, and relates to all the above really.  It starts with beginning my day earlier, and generally being more productive.  It is all too easy to let daily life get in the way of blogging, and then feeling disappointed with myself. I have discovered that I don’t like writing in the evening; and during the day it is hard to find the peace and quiet that I need.  So that only leaves early mornings.  Fortunately I am a morning person, so getting up an hour earlier shouldn’t be too difficult.  I would also like to get into a routine of planning posts in advance; and writing them, and getting the photos sorted ahead of time.  I have dabbled in this, but never really manage to stick to it.  I always seem to be madly trying to put everything together 5 minutes before I want to publish.


Pretty big resolutions, I think, but I hope that there is nothing too unachievable.  I am excited to get on with the year ahead, and look forward seeing where 2016 takes this little blog! Finally, I want to say thank you to all that have visited Joyful Things during 2015, and I hope you will come back in 2016!

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions, or do you prefer to work on goals and personal achievements throughout the year?  Leave me your comments below!



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Midweek Motivation

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I hope that nobody reading my blog today is going through hell.  But if you are, please know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Find someone to talk to, whether that be online, or in person.  Whatever works for you.  Just remember; it can, and will, get better.


Have a good week.

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Midweek Motivation



C.S. Lewis was an Irish author, born in the late 1800s.  He wrote the fantastic Narnia books, amongst many others.  He said, and wrote, many inspiring things, but I love this quote in particular.  I have been struggling lately with finding my niche.  Not in the blogging sense of the word, but in real life.  I often wish that I had a proper talent that would shine out of me like a beacon, but sadly I don’t.  I am fairly average at everything.  So, I like to think that this quote is true, and that there is still time for me to find the one thing that I can be amazing at.  I have many goals and dreams, maybe it’s not too late to achieve them.  And if not, perhaps my job on this earth is to have created  four wonderful children who will go on to be super heroes (not literally obviously, but how cool would that be?!).  We can all dream, right?


Thanks for reading, and have a happy Hump Day!



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Midweek Motivation

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We all need a little motivation to get us through the week sometimes.  This quote from Message In A Bottle by Nicholas Sparks spoke to me today.  In all honesty, I don’t believe that hard work will necessarily get you everything you want; I will never be a brain surgeon no matter how many years of study I put in.  However that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of other fantastic opportunities available with a bit of hard graft.

The most rewarding experiences are often those that are the hardest to come by.

Have a great week, and keep at it – whatever ‘it’ may be.



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Things I Would Tell My Teenage Self – The PLL Effect





I have a confession to make: I did not watch Pretty Little Liars when it was on originally – shocking right?  As is quite common for me, I waited until it was finished to decide I would see what all the fuss was about.  I am currently up to Season Three, and I can say that despite myself, I am hooked.  It has got me thinking though.  Not just about who ‘A’ is (although I have used more precious brain power on that than I should admit to) but about how perfect these teenagers are – aesthetically speaking.  I realise it is fiction, and in order to be appealing they couldn’t be awkward and spotty – it just wouldn’t be the same.  It’s just, compared to myself as a teenager, they are like a different species.


I try not to have regrets, but I can’t help but think what I would change about my teenage years.  What would I tell myself if I could go back and spend an hour (or 36) coaching myself on how to be a little bit less of a mess?

  • Use more sun cream:  When roasting in the back garden during the summer holidays, put cream on! Lots of it.  And don’t wear those sunglasses when you’re sunbathing – you will regret it when you have to spend the rest of the week with a red face and white circles around your eyes.


  • Even better, don’t roast in the garden during the summer holidays.  Embrace your pale skin! At least until fake tan becomes more user friendly.


  • Don’t – I repeat DON’T – pluck your eyebrows into oblivion.  Definitely don’t shave them to save time.  Just calm yourself down and tidy the stragglers – no more.


  • Smile! Yes, I know you are shy (unfortunately that won’t ever change) but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly.


  • Experiment with the length of your hair, by all means.  Just accept that short hair suits your face better and go with it.  You’ll only be frustrated (and hot) with long hair.


  • That doesn’t mean you should agree to the disgraceful haircut that will result in you being teased mercilessly at secondary school.  Being called Mop Top is not a pleasant experience.


  • Enjoy yourself! These are the best years of your life.  You’ll get married when you’re 20, so make the most of single life while you can.  That’s not to say you should be promiscuous – far from it – just be more sociable.


  • If you are going to insist on slathering thick foundation all over your healthy, young skin, at least choose the right shade.  And don’t just stop when you get to your jawline.


  • Don’t stress that you aren’t the prettiest in the room.  One day soon you will meet someone who will genuinely believe that you are the prettiest girl in every room.


  • Maybe think about doing some exercise, get that body fit before you hit thirty.  It will be so much easier that way.


  • And wear a crop top or something – that stomach will be ruined when you have your first baby and you’ll never be able to show it in public again without people gagging and turning green.


  • Try a little bit harder at school.  Stop worrying about what everyone thinks about you, and just concentrate.  Who knows how much you could accomplish?


  • And finally, don’t worry about most of these (except for the sun cream) you will be just fine.  Four children is a pretty exciting accomplishment – let someone else be the brain surgeon that you are not.  Oh, and your eyebrows will eventually grow back.




What about you, what would you tell yourself as a teen if you could? Or would you not change a thing?



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