No Resolutions? No Problem

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Well, it’s that time of year again.  The time when we decide that everything we’ve been doing up until now is stupid and rubbish.  It’s our opportunity to change our routines, diets, fashion, spending habits and our lives.

There’s huge pressure to become a better person, and to become an entirely different person in some cases.

But do you know what? I am a rebel (not really, but I like to pretend).  I am NOT making any New Year’s Resolutions this year.  In fact, I rarely do.

Am I some sort of perfect being who needs no improvement?  I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure the answer to that is ‘no’.

(although, if I was perfect, I wouldn’t know it would I? Because I would be humble… something to think about)

No, it is simply that this year I have decided  – quite frankly – that I don’t need the pressure. I’m not knocking self-improvement by any means, but if it makes you feel inadequate, then what’s the point?

If I want to accomplish anything in 2018, it is to be even happier and to enjoy the simpler things in life.

I know that when I do that, everything else will follow.


So I am here to urge you – lovely reader – to do the same.  Don’t write long lists of resolutions, just have one goal: be happy.  Take it from me, it’s the only thing that counts.


‘Life Does Not Have to be Perfect to be Wonderful’

– Annette Funicello




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5 Ways to Get Through a Bad Day

In an ideal world we would only get to do things that bring us joy.  We would be able to simply float through life with not a care in the world.  No bills to pay, no worries, no annoying people.

Sounds amazing right?

Well, sadly, it’s not always as easy as that.


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Sometimes, there are days when you just have to suck it up and get on with it. Does that mean the whole day in question is a write off?  Not necessarily.  Walk away from the idiot that has upset you; finish the task that you would rather not be doing; shut yourself away and have a little cry.  Whatever it takes to brush it off and keep going.

Sometimes you may know you are going to encounter a negative situation, so how can you prepare yourself for the inevitable?

What steps can you take to protect yourself from all the less than desirable tasks, people and situations?

Meditation: Over the last few months I have come to enjoy, and rely on, meditation more and more.  Believe me when I say, even a year ago, I would have laughed if anyone had suggested meditation as a method of relaxation.  I would have told you how it couldn’t possibly work, and even if it did work for ‘other people’ it wouldn’t work for me.  However, I am here to tell you that meditation is really pretty awesome. There really is no wrong way to do it, and there are tonnes of resources out there for anyone that prefers guided mediation. I particularly like the Calm app (this one – there are a few with similar names), which offers sleep stories (yes a bedtime story, embrace your inner child), and guided meditation.

If done in the morning, before an important event, or even when you know you’re going to see someone that rubs you up the wrong way, meditation will leave you feeling calm and ready for anything.

A Good Night’s Sleep: It is not an understatement to say that being tired is torture.  Lack of sleep can leave you feeling grumpy and yucky, and makes everything seem magnified. When I have been seriously sleep-deprived (usually tiny baby related), life suddenly becomes one long drama.  I can remember crying over the most ridiculous things, and feeling way more sensitive than usual. If you are having an already sucky day, being tired is going to make it feel 1 million times worse.

Since I started regularly mediating before bed, I have been sleeping better than ever before.  Despite being woken often by my youngest two (apparently they hate me), I still wake feeling relatively refreshed.  I also find it much easier to fall asleep, even after being woken.

Visualisation: Have an important meeting coming up?  Take some time over the days running up to it to quiet your mind, and imagine how you want things to go. Really immerse yourself in the feelings that come with a positive outcome. Picture the meeting in as much detail as you can, and visualise everything running smoothly, and you being the most fabulous person in the room.  You would be surprised how much of an impact this will have on your mental state.  It will leave you feeling confident and more able to achieve your goals.

Have Something to Look forward to: Know you’re going to have a shocker of a week? Or perhaps you can tell as soon as it starts going south. Get your best friends on the phone, and plan a big night out with the girls when it’s all over.  That way, every time you start to feel the stress creep in, you can drift off into Friday Night Land and escape reality.

And finally….

Don’t Take it to Heart:  Some people are just plain nasty.  It’s them, not you. Feel compassion for their miserable little life, and keep rocking yours. In the words of Taylor Swift, shake it off‘.



What about when it is unexpected though, how can you possibly prepare?  Well, this is when regular mediation or prayer can become your best friend.  Because if you are constantly in a state of relaxation and calm, then you will be able to take all the poop that life throws at you.

You can’t change the way other people treat you – only how you react to it.



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Be a Total Badass Right Now

Until last year I had never picked up a self-help book in my life.  I thought I could do it all myself, I thought it was weak to ask for help, and I didn’t think there was any merit in meditating and all that ‘hippy stuff’.


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Then, in the middle of 2016 I had, what can only be described as, a crisis of confidence.  It suddenly dawned on me that I was in my thirties and didn’t have any sort of career path (apparently I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer either – I’ve never had any sort of career path), and although I knew what I wanted to do, I didn’t know how to achieve it.

I wrote a series of self-pitying blog posts – some of which I published if you want a laugh – and generally moped around. I can’t really remember how I came across You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero, but I suspect it was some sort of divine intervention.  Anyway, I thought it looked interesting and ordered a copy along with a couple of other books that Amazon told me I needed.

And so began my journey of self-discovery (ugh, cheesy I know).  I devoured You Are A Badass, finishing it within a couple of days (hey, that’s an achievement with four children who like to inform me of every thought that enters their heads).  Jen Sincero’s style of writing won’t be for everyone, but if you like your advice to be straight to the point then you will love it.



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You Are A Badass will take you from directionless to directioned (is that even a word? Professor Google says no).  For me, the biggest revelation was related to money and work. Growing up, we always had enough, but were far from rich.  The feeling I always had, was that ‘people like us’ just were not destined to be rich or successful.  Work isn’t meant to be fun, and you just do what it takes to support your family.

…Badass helped me to see that, actually, this is the wrong attitude to have.  Just because I came from a working class background, doesn’t mean that my path is pre-determined.

It’s not just about money though, my whole attitude to life was changed after reading this wonderful yellow book. I started to feel motivated and invigorated for the first time, probably, ever.  I wanted to get out there and get started on my fabulous new life as soon as I possibly could.

For instance, I never thought I could do a job that I would actually enjoy (ok, this is also linked to money. Maybe I have a one-track mind), but I am starting to believe that it may be a possibility. This is just the tip of the iceberg though, I can’t stress enough how different I felt after reading this book.  I know I’m not the only one either; I constantly see …Badass being recommended whenever the topic comes up in Facebook groups and the like.

Among many other life lessons, …Badass also helped to hammer home that other people being ugly (inside) has nothing to do with me. This is a work in progress, as I have the habit of over-analysing every little thing that people say and do around me. However, I have got a LOT better at letting things wash over me, and just living my life, without worrying so much what other people are doing with theirs.

Live in the moment to fully appreciate life, you only get one after all. I certainly don’t want to be on my deathbed worrying about whether the nurses are talking about me behind my back.


“There’s nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of f***- yeah” – Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass


I highly recommend you get on the Badass Train right now.  Go buy it herewhile I just pop off and work my way through Jen’s recommended reading list.  You can thank me later.



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Worrying? That’s So Last Year!

I don’t like making resolutions; they don’t stick (with me anyway), and why wait until January to make a change? This year, however, I have made one. I have decided to become worry-free.



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This is not something that comes naturally to me. Worry has been my constant companion for my whole life. Do you know whose middle name is Worry? Me, that’s who.

As long as I can remember I have been a mildly anxious person (I hesitate to use that word, because my anxiety is the old-fashioned kind; not debilitating, just annoying).  As a child – as my mum will attest to – I was the one nervously biting my nails in the car on the first day of term.  Not because I was worried about the first day back, but because I was terrified that we had made a mistake and it really wasn’t the first day back at all. ‘What if everyone else came back yesterday, and I’ve missed a day?’

Is that weird? The same with non-uniform day, my stomach would be in knots, until I caught a glimpse of a classmate sans uniform.  I’m pretty sure that’s a normal worry though. Right?


As an adult, things haven’t been much better to be honest.  I have worried my way through new jobs; new experiences; pregnancies; meeting new people; old jobs I don’t like anymore; not having enough money; and less frequently, having enough money (in case it disappears)…. You name it, I’ve worried about it.


But NO MORE! As of 2017, worry is going in the recycling bin.  It’s going to come out as happiness and contentment.


My reasoning behind being a big fat worrier, is that if I worry about it (and expect the worst) then I won’t be disappointed when the worst happens.  But NEWSFLASH, this is extremely flawed logic.


Over the last 13 years I have been pregnant six times, and have four children.  You could argue that my anxiety during those pregnancies was justified, but did it do any good? Heck no.



“What’s comin’ will come, 

an’ we’ll meet it when it does” – Hagrid


My final pregnancy was by far the most stressful, after suffering a late miscarriage the year previously.  So I worried.  Oh, I worried like never before.  Thankfully my daughter was born happy and healthy in 2014 (albeit back to back – awkward child that she is).

One thing I am certain of – my worrying did not create this gorgeous little being.  In fact, she is the most nervous and anxious of them all.  I would go as far as to say that my high stress levels during the pregnancy caused her to be a nervous child.  Me worrying about that would be pointless though.  I owe it to her (and my other children) to be a calm and rational role model.


The thing about worrying is that it doesn’t stop bad days happening, it just ruins the good days. And where’s the fun in that?

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Being Grateful

Have you ever said ‘I’m just having one of those days’? Doesn’t it start to feel like every day is one of those days after a while?  The negative feelings and interactions with other people snowball until you are one big ball of frustration and irritation.  Life seems like an uphill struggle, and insecurities and anxious feelings are at their highest.

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Leading up the summer of 2016 my life was a little bit… let’s say bumpy.  My mind was all over the place, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with myself, and I was feeling uninspired.  I announced several times to my husband and family that I had decided on a new career path, only to dismiss it a few days later.  I honestly thought I was having a pre-midlife crisis (…possibly midlife.  Eeek, am I that old already?)

It was an unusual time.

I started reading all the self-help books I could get my hands on (some better than others).  I gravitated towards motivational speakers on Youtube, rather than my usual beauty ‘gurus’, and I started to move away from beauty blogs and magazines, and towards stories of inspirational people.

I would wake up feeling apathetic at best, and downright miserable at worst. I wouldn’t describe it as clinical depression, more misery and low mood.

But then one day it all fell into place with a thud.  The way I was feeling was because of me. It was the way I was reacting to situations that was making me feel so rubbish.   I was in charge of my life – no one else.


I started to work on being grateful for what I do have, instead of grumbling about what I don’t have.


Doing this has had a greater impact on my life than I ever would have imagined.


Gratitude, giving thanks, feeling blessed, whatever you want to call it is essential to my own mental well-being, and I would bet that if you are feeling low it would help you too.

Which feels better? Noticing the things that are missing from your life, or noticing the positive aspects?  I know what feels better to me.

I’ve tried both approaches extensively, and have come to the conclusion that life is better when I make a point of finding the good and ignoring the bad.

For the most part now I feel like I have moved on to a better place. Doing so has been a journey, and is still ongoing.  One of the biggest changes that has come about in my thinking, is feeling grateful for the things that are going well, and taking the time to appreciate the good.

It is also something that needs to be kept in check every day.  Feeling happy and grateful one day a month doesn’t really cut it.  I start and end each day with lying in bed remembering all the people and things (yes, things, it’s not evil and materialistic to be grateful for things) that I am blessed with.

My children; my marriage;  my parents and extended family; our health.  A roof over our heads; money to buy food; cars to make life easier; gadgets to keep us busy and entertained; music; movies; The Walking Dead (I’m kidding about that one – kind of). Education; freedom; books.  I really could go on all day.

Even those that feel that nothing goes their way can find something to be grateful for each day.  It’s the quickest way to feeling uplifted, I guarantee it.


Let me know what you’re grateful for in the comments, I know you can do it. joyfulthings joyful things beauty blog family blogger skincare mascara eyeshadow lipstick lip balm cleanser toner moisturiser makeup make-up primer blush blusher nail polish


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Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

I don’t know what it is about the way life is currently, but why is it so frowned upon to do nothing?  Why do we have to be so gosh darned productive all the time?

Everyone seems to be writing listicles about how to be more productive, or how to get more done, or how to squeeze more tasks into an already crowded day.


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With more and more people working for themselves, and trying to be successful in a shorter amount of time, I fear it’s only going to get worse.

After Christmas I felt pretty exhausted (as I’m sure a lot of people did).  January is a notoriously blue month. Money is low, we feel a bit fat, we haven’t stopped for what feels like weeks and we just generally feel bleugh.

So take it easy, yes?

Nope. We still want to get back to it.  To work; to blogging; to life, all at full force.

Personally, I am excellent at doing not very much.  What I’m not very good at is enjoying it.  If I have a day where I don’t tick off all – or most – of my to-do list then I feel like a failure. And I’m not really a perfectionist, or particularly ambitious, so I can’t imagine how other more motivated people must feel.

My husband was working from home a couple of days ago, and I was sitting at my computer not doing what I should have been doing (making some money), and was instead doing what I definitely should not have been doing (trying my hardest to spend some money).  I caught myself, and mentioned to my husband that I had been doing nothing, when I should have been doing something useful.

He was pretty shocked that I was being so hard on myself, and told me in not so many words that I should give myself a break, and, well, take a break.  And more importantly not to feel bad about it.


Well, that’s easier said than done, my friend.

I am honestly trying though, and while that guilt will probably never entirely go away, I am trying not to be SO hard on myself.  Trying to take some ‘me’ time, and making the most of it.  Not beating myself up for sitting on my butt for an hour or so, and actually just stopping every now and again.

Do you know what makes you more productive? Being less productive sometimes. Resting, and recharging your batteries, that’s what.  What is the point in running yourself into the ground, making yourself ill and then being forced to take time off?  I think in 2017, we should all just slow down a bit.  Stop rushing; get some fresh air; talk to a stranger; do something out of the normal routine.  Even just for five minutes.

But do it deliberately and enjoy it.  Easy right?


So, when I say ‘don’t be so hard on yourself’ I’m talking to myself too.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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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