8 articles Tag Confidence

How to Be Happier with Your Appearance

How to Be Happier with Your AppearancePhoto by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

As someone who struggles with their self esteem and appearance, I know that it can be hard at times to look in the mirror and be okay with what you see. There are lots of things that I’d like to change about myself, and although I have no issue with people who choose cosmetic surgery, it’s not something I would ever do. There are, however, a few non-invasive cosmetic things that I could do which I think would make me feel happier with the way I look. Here’s a few of them:

Eyelash Lift and Tint

Some days I wake up and really can’t be bothered with make-up. However, I have light eyelashes and look a bit run down if I don’t have at least some mascara on. I’m put off of the idea of having semi-permanent lashes because of the cost and upkeep but I would like to have a lash lift and tint, which make your eyes look more open and your lashes look as though you’re wearing make-up.

Brazillian Blowdry

My hair is ANNOYING AF. It’s not straight, but it’s also not curly. It’s this annoying inbetweeny, not-really-anything texture which means I need to straighten it every day if I want to wear it down and that is a massive pain. I’d love a Brazillian blowdry which would massively reduce the amount of styling I need to do to my hair and might mean that I don’t wake up looking like I’ve been dragged through a hedge every day!

Cosmetic Dentistry

I had braces when I was younger and they did a pretty good job of getting my teeth straight, but years of over brushing and acid reflux mean I’ve not got a lot of enamel left on my teeth, which makes them look discoloured. I’d love to have some sort of cosmetic dentistry done so that my teeth are not just straight, but also white again! I think a perfect smile would really improve my appearance.

Laser Tattoo Removal

I only have 4 tattoos and most of them are fine, but I have one that I hate and it’s the one which is in the most noticeable place. I don’t mind having a tattoo, and if anything I plan on having more,  I just don’t like this one, so I’d love to have a few sessions of laser removal done so that I can have it covered with a design that I actually like!

Laser Hair Removal

I’m gonna be real with you – I am really bad at shaving. As well as leaving it too long between shaves and ending up with the appearance of a yeti, I’m actually physically bad at it and end up covered in cuts! I’m too much of a wimp for waxing or epilating, so laser hair removal would be great for me. As well as cutting down on how much shaving I need to do, it would save me from the blood loss I suffer each time when I massacre my own legs!!

Confidence: The Key To Any Look

Many of us worry about how we look. Regular mirror checks and self-deprecation can easily become a habit. But while we may excuse this as simply “making sure we look our best”, the truth is that these self-nitpicks can really do a number in eroding our sense of self-confidence. If you’re really concerned with looking your best self, then you have to start with the one factor that is going to shine through any outfit and any makeup: your confidence. Click the link to take some inspiration from these nail product reviews.

Pic by 3974931

Dress with purpose

One part of confidence is context. You don’t dress in a vacuum, you are creating outfits to help cement a look in different situations. If you feel out of place for a certain situation, it can be a huge knock on your confidence. You’re going to feel more noticeable for the wrong reasons and that sense of self-consciousness can ruin an otherwise lovely evening. Build outfits with purpose. Define those which are best for the workplace, those that are for nights out, those that are for cozy evenings in, and so on. If you’re heading to an event, don’t be afraid to ask organizers or other attendants that you know what the dress code is going to be.

Comfort is crucial

Many women are willing to go through all sorts of pains in order to accentuate their most flattering features and to look as “perfect” as possible. Nothing is more self-sabotaging than sacrificing comfort for aesthetic, however. If you don’t feel comfortable in what you wear, you are going to have a hard time expressing that comfort and you’re going to feel like people can notice how awkward your clothes are making you feel. This is no more apparent than in our choices of bras and shoes. Ill-fitting bras and uncomfortable shoes will turn any occasion into a battle with discomfort, distracting from your ability to simply enjoy the occasion for what it really is.

Love your body

Body positivity is becoming a much more common part of modern discourse, which women should be ecstatic about. But while many are stamping down on the harmful language and expectations others can place on us, we should also acknowledge that often we are our own worst critic. Take the time to really grapple with the questions and issues explored by places like womenshealthmag.com and internalize body positivity in a way that makes sense to you and is honest to you. You don’t have to pretend that you are perfect, for no-one is, nor do you have to ignore what you might consider weak points that you want to work on. What you do have to do, however, is recognize that there’s a lot to love about anyone’s body and the sooner you start loving yours, the sooner you can start feeling comfortable and confident.

Pic by Pexels

Spend time on the fundamentals

While body positivity is about accepting and loving yourself for who you are, there is no denying that the simple act of working on your appearance will help you feel a lot more confident. Whether it’s skin care, make-up, or efforts to work on your body, the feeling that you are in control and making an impact will help you feel much more confident to display your taste and to own it publicly. One element that can help you feel good in any outfit is expressing yourself through your hair with the help of sites like therighthairstyles.com. Not only are you going to look good, you’re going to feel that sense of ownership that comes with enjoying the fruit of your labors.

Find your outfit enhancers

That sense of ownership and confidence in your choices can also come with the little touches you make to your outfits to make them uniquely you. We all like to think we have a sense of personal style no matter what we wear, but we can’t deny those moments that we don’t feel like building elaborate outfits when we just want to get on with the day or need to dress down. Even in those cases, however, accessories are a simple touch that lets us customize our look and feel like we’re showing off our fashion flair even with the most generic of outfits.

Get experimental

Restricting your clothing choices based on what you “know” will work on you is a mistake. Fashion isn’t a set of “yes” and “no” items, just as artists don’t specifically choose which colors they are best with painting and which they should avoid. You should be willing to push outside your comfort zone and try new things while crafting outfits. You might not have the budget to indulge in constant shopping sprees, of course, which is why guides to thrift store shopping from places like apartmenttherapy.com can be hugely helpful. You can try and buy a whole range of wallet-friendly items that allow you to get more experimental in the outfits you’re going to make. Your experiments aren’t always going to be a success, of course, but if you don’t try, you’re going to miss the permanent benefit of finding something new that makes you look and feel great. Simply trying on outfits that don’t look as good on you as you wanted and learning that it’s not the end of the world is going to build the resilience that serves as a cornerstone to self-confidence, too.

Pic by StockSnap

Break the rules

In a similar vein, don’t take supposed fashion rules too seriously. Yes, there’s some conventional wisdom that has built up over the years that can help you make choices more likely to work. They can work as a foundation of a sense of style. But over-reliance on them can act as a crutch that stifles your own personal taste. Go with your gut and be willing to break those rules.

Learning to quiet the little voice in your head that says “this might not be a good idea” is one of the most freeing fashion tips you can follow. Get experimental, try things out, and express what you really want to. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t. Just move on and try the next idea.

Working On My Self-Esteem

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Something that I’ve always struggled with is self-esteem. I don’t come from a particularly “build you up” kind of family (when I got my first pair of glasses, aged 11, my family decided to tell me I looked like Dennis Waterman and called me that for many years, knowing how much I hated it). One of my worst character traits is my ability to be self-deprecating, and as much as I find it hilarious to make mean jokes about myself, my kids are starting to notice and it’s probably not the best thing for them to hear.

Just last week, Husband said to me “you look nice”, and I replied “don’t be ridiculous!”. I should have just said “thanks love”, but I didn’t and as much as he didn’t say anything I could tell he was disappointed with my reaction. I know I need to work on my self esteem, but the sad fact is, I don’t know where to start.

I’ve heard a lot of women say that a good place to start when trying to make yourself feel good is with your underwear, so I was thinking of investing in a whole new load of undies, like this. I’m not much of a ‘frilly knickers’ kinda girl, so something simple yet pretty would be perfect for me.

Another thing I know I need to do is get back to the gym; when I started weightlifting last year, I felt like I’d finally found an exercise that I loved…and I was good at it, too. But a few things happened to knock me off the rails and I managed to completely give up on what I was doing, watching all the gains I’d made slip away. It was a a double blow because my self-esteem was already struggling and having to admit I’d failed at something AND watch all my hard work go down the drain had a bad effect on my mental state.

We had some friends over last night for the football and they asked me if I was still exercising, and while I was telling them (or more accurately, reeling off the list of excuses that I’ve cultivated about why I quit), I realised that I missed exercising and taking control of myself. I missed being productive and showing my girls that we should look after ourselves. And most of all, I missed that daily sense of achievement I got when I got my butt to the gym, ate within my macros and lifted a little bit more weight than last time.

So, for the sake of my girls, I’m going to try to get back to it.

I’m re-taking control.

Keep Decay At Bay: Five Reasons To Focus On Your SMILE!

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When we have time to focus on our health, we tend to keep a closer eye on one thing or another. We try to eat healthily, of course. A healthy weight is always a focus, whether you want it to be or not. We will focus more closely on anything that runs in our family, or that we ourselves have had an issue with. But how much do we focus on our teeth?

Let’s face it, when it comes to personal health, our teeth have become the poor relation as compared to issues like weight. But although it may feel lower on the priority list than some things, it’s still vital to pay some attention to your SMILE.

S, for Social

Yes, as you may have noted from the fact it was all in caps, SMILE isn’t just about gleaming pearly whites. There are several reasons to keep your teeth in good nick, and social niceties are among them.

Dental equipment suppliers are making more and more gadgets available, and it’s worth shopping around for the best. A sound oral health regime will keep teeth clean and breath fresh.

M, for Medical

If the first reason seems a little shallow, this one is anything but. You see, we talk about brushing as though it’s all about the teeth. They need to be kept in order, no disputing that. But your entire mouth will benefit; your whole body, in fact.

If you don’t keep up an oral care regime, you open yourself up to a higher risk of dangerous conditions. These include heart disease, dementia and respiratory issues.

I, for Inspiration

If you’re a parent, it’s all the more important to look after your teeth. Although you may be able to excuse yourself a slip, it’s setting a bad example to your kids, who need to learn sound habits at an early age. Brush with them, if needs be, to ensure they see what it takes to keep a good regime going.

L, for Laughter

A recent study showed that a third of teenagers are too embarrassed about their teeth to smile in front of friends. Given that other studies have shown that the mere act of smiling or laughter can make you happier, imagine the logical conclusion of that! When you’re happy or amused, you want to be able to laugh. So don’t get to the stage where you’re ashamed to!

E, for Employment

If you walk into a job interview with your hair done, new stylish clothes and flawless makeup, you’ve got a better chance of getting the job. If you then open your mouth to reveal decaying teeth, it will put any interviewer off. See, they aren’t just considering your aptitude for the job, but how you’ll fit in a team. Poor dental hygiene can make others uncomfortable – and cost you a dream job!

The Difference a Good Teacher Can Make

TeacherIt’s fair to say that Sausage’s school career has been fairly up and down. When she started Reception class she’d only been 4 for 3 weeks, being an August baby, which meant that although she was more than ready, academically speaking, the emotional side of starting school took a little longer to develop. She spent the first few months being absolutely distraught in the mornings and were it not for her Reception class teacher being fantastic and our want for her to socialise, I think we’d have seriously considered going back to our initial plan of homeschooling her.

Year One, however, was an unmitigated disaster. Due to various issues that I’ve never blogged about in any great detail, Sausage was completely unsupported by her class teacher and was placed into what amounted to remedial classes for no apparent reason. The problems seemed to start after we made a series of complaints about her teacher, firstly when Sausage came home telling us that she’d been being taught religious doctrine as fact; apparently a whole class of 5 and 6 years olds were taught that their teacher didn’t believe in evolution and that dinosaurs didn’t really exist. Religious education was being used as a contextual tool in other areas, such as literacy and numeracy and Sausage was coming home almost daily telling us she’d had another R.E. lesson.

The straw that broke the camels back was when Sausage came home telling us she’d been taken on a school trip out of grounds without our permission. Apparently they’d been taken around the local area on some sort of survey to do with counting types of houses/cars etc. but parents weren’t informed to begin with and when we dug further, we discovered that Sausage’s asthma medication hadn’t been taken with them, which meant that in the occurrence of an asthma attack, she’d have been completely without adequate care. The school tried to pass this off as a simple mistake, but Husband and I were absolutely beside ourselves with fury, and more importantly, absolute uncertainty that this woman was equipped to care for our child on a day-to-day basis.

It was only after we complained about this series of cock-ups that Sausage was suddenly considered to be academically behind and in need of being dragged back to levels she’d been learning at since before she even started school, so it seemed as though she was being punished and having proper levels of education withheld from her because we’d made life difficult for her teacher. In terms of education PR, it was pretty bad.

Her attendance was appalling because the anxiety of being under the care of her teacher was making her physically ill and her progress ground to a halt. Husband and I, to this day, are still trying to remedy the damage caused by this teacher and there are certain things which have marked Sausage indelibly, causing confidence issues which I think she’ll struggle to overcome for the foreseeable future.

Skip forward to Year Two and Husband and I could not be more grateful for her current class teacher. Nurturing and kind, whilst commanding the kids’ attention with masterful ease, Mrs. S. is every parent’s dream. Sausage’s thirst for knowledge has been truly reinvigorated and she’s been 100% invested in every class topic that she’s studied this year, whilst making HUGE leaps in terms of her reading level and comprehension (putting her back to where she should have been, had Year One not been such a trial for her).

One area that Sausage lacked confidence was maths; this was the subject in which, for some reason, her previous teacher had decided to place her into a special needs class, despite her actually being absolutely on par with her classmates in numeracy, and as a result Sausage became convinced that she was “no good” at maths and never would be. One afternoon before half term, I saw Mrs. S. whisper something to Sausage as she left the classroom and my beautiful girl came running over to me bearing a huge grin…”Mrs. S. told me to tell you that I got one of the highest marks in Year 2 for our practice Maths SATS, Mummy!”. Just for giving my girl her confidence back in this one area, I will be FOREVER grateful to Mrs. S. Obviously, Sausage deserves most of the credit for her hard work and perseverance, but a little support goes a LONG way with an uncertain 6 year old.

Yesterday, after being thrilled to go back after half term to see her beloved educator, Sausage said to me “Mummy, do you know I’ve only got 8 weeks left in Mrs. S’ class? I’ll never have another teacher like her, will I?”. Obviously I tried to reassure her that her next teacher could be just as good as Mrs. S., or possibly even better, but I have to admit that I’m not even convincing myself with that one. I hope her next teacher is as amazing as her current one, especially as she’ll be making the move from infants to juniors, where the emphasis will be less on play and even more on structured learning, but Husband and I will be keeping our eyes open for those telltale signs of a less-than-competent teacher in the coming school year.

All we can hope is that the confidence and re-discovered passion for learning that Mrs. S. has re-instilled in Sausage will carry her through and help her to deal with whatever Year 3 and the Juniors has in store. If you feel you have what it takes to be a teacher, or education in general – then Day Webster offers roles in education.

Guest Post: Mummy, Why are They Being so Mean to Me?

On the blog today, we have a guest post from Helen Neale, who writes at both kiddycharts.com, a parenting advice and tools site offering free personalised kids charts, and stickersstarsandsmiles.com, a much more personal blog where she promises to tidy up, but never quite gets around to it. She can be found far too much on social media, particularly Twitter.

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As the teacher passed, she could hear sobbing. She looked across the wooden hall floor, but couldn’t find where it was coming from. She tilted her head to try and concentrate. In the corner of the hall was a gym mat, positioned delicately against the climbing frames that the school children used in PE. She moved silently towards the sound, and as she approached the noise got louder. Leaning in, she peered behind the mat.

Standing pressed against the wall, tears streaming down her face, was a small girl.”

Thirty-five years ago, that was me.

Even after all this time, I can still remember vividly the teacher who found me, and helped me. But even now, I can sometimes still feel like that little girl, hiding from harsh and cutting words.

My time at school has shaped me into the woman I am today, I am sure of it. It has made me into someone who hates confrontation, so much that I will apologise for anything just to move on, and not create tension.

It has made me desperate to be liked. I turned to bribery in secondary school. Eventually, a close friend told me that I didn’t have to use my dinner money to buy her sweets to get her to speak to me. It was only then that I finally came to realise that I didn’t have to pay for friendship. Friendship was something that is freely given, and gratefully received.

Despite finally finding a wonderful friend, I was still singled out by some of the older girls as the weaker one; sensitive to criticism. I often wondered if I “just had the face for it” as I grew up.

I avoided catching the school bus home to my village if I could. When I did brave the ride on the first bus home, I would sit near the front away from the other children. I would then spend 45 minutes listening to the kids behind me, talking about me, calling me names, deliberately waking past, and flicking my hair, throwing my bag down the bus…anything to upset me. Never physical, but the constant niggles were enough to cut deep.

Suddenly though, it stopped.

The main culprit left the school; as simple as that.

The other players didn’t have their heart in it. Having finally told my mum, she helped too; giving me the confidence to stand up to them, to speak to the teachers and not to try and handle everything on my own. After the bully left, my bus trips started again. However, my anxiety and my wish to be liked has remained ever since.

If I had my time again, I do sincerely wish that it hadn’t happened, any of it. Of course I do. Thinking about those times, still stings my eyes.

But, the sensitivity it has instilled in my heart; how we should listen, and love, has made me into someone who has understood many of my friend’s darkest moments. Once, it helped save a life.

The determination to carry on despite being bullied lives on in me now too; that survival instinct has moulded me both personally and professionally.

I made it.

I was able to come out the other side. That has given me a confidence in myself that I didn’t think, as that little six-year old, hiding behind a gym mat, I would ever have. I am still desperate to seek approval from others, but it isn’t as all encompassing as it was when I was a child. It doesn’t choke me, it doesn’t mean I feel that every friend I have is just here for a while until they find someone else more exciting, funnier, or with more money for sweets….

However, I realised this week that I find myself seeking approval from my kids in a way that I wish I didn’t. Anything from the simple questions about whether their birthday party was any good, to whether they liked the dinner I made them. This even extends to the friends they invite to those parties, or sit down to have that dinner with them.

Despite all that I have achieved, there is still a wee six year old in there, desperate to be liked.

How have you overcome this need for approval if you have it too? Is there anyway to do so? Shall I just give up and have a biscuit?

If you or your children are experiencing bullying, please seek help. There are some wonderful organisations out there. Relevant sites in the UK include:

http://www.bullying.co.uk/

http://www.beatbullying.org/

http://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/

It would be wonderful if we can lend a little support to these and other organisations supporting anti-bullying campaigns, including this campaign from fellow blogger, Gammon and Chips, in the memory of a wonderful 16-year old girl, Izzy.

#LoveYourself – A Self Confidence Challenge

The past couple of years have been pretty trying for me, for a number of reasons. I tend to pour my heart out on these pages, but there have been things happening behind the scenes which I’ve not written about because I didn’t want to air my dirty laundry in public; needless to say there have been plenty of dramas which have left me at my lowest ebb at times. Husband, as usual, has been my rock but I’ve felt pretty lonely and some horrible childhood issues have reared their ugly heads, leaving me me with a real sense of abandonment and low self-esteem. Couple this with weight gain, social isolation and a baby who seems determined to test me at every turn, and I’m not the woman I used to be.

My 30th birthday is coming up and I’ve decided that enough is enough – I need to make some personal changes so that the next 30 years of my life (should I be lucky enough to live that long – I never take that for granted) are what I make of them. I’ve spent my entire life allowing myself to be walked all over, manipulated and treated like I’m not even second best, but maybe third or fourth. All that needs to stop and I’m the only person who can change that. I’ve made some changes and removed certain negative energies so far which have impacted me positively and I want that to continue.

So, I’ve decided to challenge myself. I’m taking positive action and forcing myself to learn to love…well, to love ME. Every week, I’m taking a suggestion from a fellow blogger of something I can do which will positively impact my self esteem and trying it for a week, before coming back to tell you how I’ve found it. Make sense?

I’m also opening this up to you, too! Every week, I’ll attach a linky to the post so that YOU can try the suggestions for yourselves and then blog about how you’ve got on over the course of the week. I’d love it SO much if you could join in (you don’t have to join in every week, of course!) and come with me on my journey towards self improvement and self love and hopefully by the end of this challenge, we’ll all feel SO much better about ourselves.

This weeks challenge is an easy one to kick off with. My gorgeous friend Becky from Baby Budgeting has suggested that I ask commenters to leave me a comment with two words that they’d use to describe me:

“Asking people to share one or two good things they think about you and writing out a list with all these on is really useful feedback. For example, Jayne; I think you are funny and wise. You could ask everyone and end up with a big list that will help you see your self positively and truthfully through other people s eyes. It may bring up some surprises too!”

So, go ahead, tell me exactly what you think of me! Then, go away, write a post asking your readers and friends to do the same and come back here to link up. I’m made a snazzy little badge for you to add to your posts

Mum's the Word

Go on – I bet you’ll be really surprised to hear what your friends think of you and it might just help you to start seeing yourself differently, too.

R.I.P. Sir Norman.

We awake this morning to the sad news that Sir Norman Wisdom has passed away. He lived to the grand old age of 95, despite suffering with heart problems and having had a series of strokes in the last 6 months. He will be fondly remembered by people all over the world (apparently he was a cult hero in Albania!) and was described by Charlie Chaplin as his “favourite clown”.

However.

There was a portion of my life in which the words ‘Norman Wisdom’ struck an icy blow to my heart.

Here’s my secret: I was a clumsy child.

I think I was fairly normal up to the age of six, then a particularly nasty case of Meningitis struck and I was left not knowing what to do with my limbs.

I don’t mean that literally, I could still walk and talk and was actually extremely fortunate to come out of the other side if it relatively unscathed.

But I was never going to be a ballerina.

Well, again, to be totally fair, I was never going to be a ballerina anyway, my boobs started to sprout at the age of 9 and didn’t stop until they’d reached a hefty G-cup, but my point is, the clumsiness set in.

One of my earliest memories was going to the shops with my Aunt and my Nan and going to this place called ‘Spoils’. It was a shop that basically sold factory-second homewares, so there were huge displays of wine glasses and ceramic fruit bowls everywhere.

Only, I wasn’t allowed in those sections.

I was ushered through the shop and told to wait in the toy section, so I couldn’t fall over the invisible tripping hazard which seemed to be constantly at my feet, and cause hundreds of pounds worth of damage.

And I admit it, I was THAT kid, the one who’d walk away from a dinner table and pull the cloth off of the table with her. The kid who’d drop things, or knock things over. I always (and often still do) did things with a little too much zeal and vigour, and it often ended in disaster.

Only, disaster is relative, isn’t it? ‘Cause let’s face it, surely dropping a glass every now and again is less of a disaster that a little girl with no confidence. A girl who is called “a bull in a china shop”, “ham-fisted”, and best of all “fairy elephant”. A girl who believes everything that is said about her.

And do you know, it wasn’t until I met my husband that I realised that there were certain things that I still avoided doing, because of this early doubt in my abilities. Even to this day, I reach for the thicker drinking glass in the cabinet, a subconscious move to lessen the chances of somehow spontaneously shattering the glass, just by touching it.

I only wish I’d asked for a plastic cup the first time I met my future Mother-in-Law. Within 5 minutes of meeting her, I’d dropped a glass of Dr. Pepper at her feet, showering her with sticky brown liquid and shards of glass.

Fortunately she has a sense of humour.

So I admit it, I am Norman Wisdom, I do clumsy things, but I can’t help but wonder; would I still be so clumsy if I wasn’t so acutely aware of being clumsy? Maybe if I was able to relax about it, I’d miraculously gain the grace and gentle touch that I coveted as a child?

Maybe, but maybe not.

For now, I think I’ll just remember Sir Norman, and hope that I live to 95, having enriched the lives of so many. And I’ll make this promise, here and now. I promise that I will never make my daughter, (who shall be forever more known as ‘Sausage’ in the blogospehere), feel inadequate if she has an accident, because I want to make sure that she has the confidence in herself that I never had.

****UPDATE****

Just sat down to eat my lunch and knocked a whole pint of juice over with my elbow.

Sir Norm lives on.