Beat the Lockdown 3.0 Blues!

Welcome back to the first blog of 2021! I hope you’re feeling refreshed after the Christmas break, and that your week got off to a positive start. On Sunday night I pictured myself getting up nice and early, ready for the first Monday of 2021. I was genuinely looking forward to reinstating a bit of a routine to my day once again, and begin working on some of the things I wanted to achieve this year. However the reality of my first working day of 2021 saw me wake up 90 minutes later than planned (oops)…

A very accurate representation of what my morning looked like

Alas, I didn’t allow this to set the tone to the rest of my day. Instead I rewrote the narrative and thought just how rested I was feeling, and how grateful I was that there was no commute to rush for. We all know that a New Year doesn’t magically change our reality and I am definitely not one to proclaim, “New Year, New Me”. However, I love the optimism that the New Year presents itself with. But if you’re struggling with a bit of motivation today (especially after last night’s lockdown 3.0 announcement), here are a few of my posts I wrote in 2020 to send some positivity your way.

If you are feeling a bit blue and struggling to feel optimistic, read my post – Appreciating The Little Things

Maybe you are on the 2021 hype and want to be more efficient with your day and get organized, read my post – Get More Time Back In Your Day

Looking for a a bit of inspiration for self-care? Read my post – 5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

A New Year means a new series to watch, but if you missed some of my top picks in lockdown 2.0 for 2020 which are classics, read my post – TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

If you’re on a health kick post Christmas, have a read of my post – 5 Smoothie Recipes To Try Now

It may be the new year but don’t let that dampen your dreams of a holiday this year. To see how I spent my week off at home, read my post –2020, A New Meaning to Staycation

And finally, if the prospect of working remotely for a bit longer is getting you down, read my post –Working From Home Tips | Mental Health Awareness Week

Sending big hugs to you all and wishing you a positive week ahead – you got this.

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

Lessons in My 20’s

3 Key Concepts For Relaxation

A Year in Review | 2020

Comparing My Favourite Purple Shampoos

A Year in Review | 2020

During a post-Christmas clean, I found a journal entry I wrote on 1st January. Incidentally this was the only entry I made all year, but looking back I started the year out filled with a lot of hope and ambition for 2020. Reading it made me realize just how much growth I have had in many areas of my life. The global pandemic has certainly brought some challenging and depressing days, but there have also been some wonderful moments this year that I want to remember. So before 2020 is over, here are just some of my highlights from this incredibly strange year:

  • I attended my auntie’s wedding right at the beginning of January and who knew that would be my first and last big social event for the year?! The day was filled with carefree dancing, toasting, laughing, hugging, and all without wearing a mask or obeying any rules of six…

  • This year the U.K. has really enjoyed some glorious weather, which I really appreciated particularly throughout the first lockdown. This meant there were lots of walks (often twice a day!), as well as days filled with various kinds of outside exercise or sunbathing with a glass of cold Pimms.

  • Being at home and having a lot more time back in my day, meant it was the perfect opportunity for more blogging, with this post being number 58 of this year! I pushed myself with writing challenges and also concentrated more on uploading videos to my YouTube channel. Overall this has resulted in more traffic with readers/viewers from different parts of the world – thank you! I can’t wait to continue creating next year.

  • There wasn’t a homemade sourdough in sight on my end, but I did get some baking in here and there. My new favourite discovery was a Sangria cake I baked for my Mum’s birthday – so easy and delicious! I also tried cooking some new recipes which emphasized how much I love trying new things. I am excited to do more of this in 2021 too!

  • I was devastated when my Summer flights to America were cancelled as I planned on going to Chicago for the first time, as well as attending my brother’s wedding! However we all still celebrated virtually via a live stream, complete with video calls for speeches and toasts. My family and I made the effort to dress up and we also decorated the house, the garden and the table. I even cooked a slightly elaborate meal! Overall, it was a bittersweet but a memorable and special day.

  • Despite all the challenges working from home, I am super proud of my progression in my 9-5 job and the impact I have had this year. I am giving myself a huge pat on the back well done… something we all need to do now and again!

  • Living an active lifestyle was my main goal for 2020. At the start of the year I was focused on getting beyond the 8 week mark of regular exercise (before I typically lost interest). From HIIT, running, pilates, hikes, walks, online classes and various other videos and IGTV’s, I’ve LOVED every moment of it. I am feeling stronger both mentally and physically, with my relationship and attitude towards exercise being completely transformed. Here’s to health in 2021!

  • Finding out I would be an auntie for the first time has also been a highlight for this year. Roll on early 2021 where I get to meet (virtually but hopefully physically soon) my little niece.

  • Becoming a dog auntie to the wonderful @cosmoandsherlockadventures has brought me so much joy and firmly helped me get over my fear of dogs! I am now one of those people who would coo at a dog rather than run away from it, haha!

  • In a way I am hugely grateful to 2020 as it meant I was able to save money faster and led me to buying my first home with my boyfriend. I am so excited to move in January 2021 and begin a new and exciting chapter of my life!

This year may not have always gone to plan, but 2020 has helped me be thankful for what I do have and enjoy the small moments along the way. Whatever way you are ringing in the New Year, I wish you a wonderful , happy, healthy and safe year ahead, filled with lots of positivity and light. Let’s hope 2021 will be filled with more times seeing our loved ones and squeezing them tight once again.

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about to not miss out!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

Lessons in My 20’s

3 Key Concepts For Relaxation

Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

Overcoming My Fears

Comparing My Favourite Purple Shampoos

Get More Time Back In Your Day

Appreciating The Little Things

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, and I really wanted to begin this week with a dose of positivity. Each time I write a post like this, it leaves me feeling lighter, grateful and just good inside and out. So here are five things that have had me smiling in December so far!

  1. December saw the end of Movember and so it seems fit to include this one on a list. I made a donation to something which I know is a good cause, and it was great to help someone exceed their fundraising target!

  2. There’s not many things that compare to the first few calm moments of the day as you begin to wake up. How one can be so alert but also half-asleep, still and peaceful. Everything is (mostly) quiet, but most importantly gone are the stresses from the day before.
    As the days get shorter, I’ve really enjoyed having a slower start to my day, and am taking advantage of a few extra minutes sleeping in, knowing that I’m listening to my body and preparing for the day ahead.

  3. Last week was very challenging and by the end of it, I was so ready to switch off for the weekend. However one thing that really cheered me up was watching the finale of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Over the last three weeks, the show provided the escapism I think many of us in the U.K. needed. I was also so thrilled to see Giovanna win, who I had rooted for from the start! I love what she stands for and admire her kindness and braveness. We all need a bit of Gi in our lives.

  4. This one of course had to be on this list… Christmas! Christmas joy has well and truly lifted my mood this month. I have also really enjoyed planning presents for my family this year. I love taking the time to think about what each recipient would like and appreciate, especially this Christmas where we all need just that bit of extra TLC. This December I’m also appreciating fairy lights, mulled wine and Winter walks just a bit more… All whilst I am wrapped up in my fluffiest of jumpers!

  5. Making time for friendships despite the love/hate relationship with zoom.
    Although it doesn’t come close to the real thing, I have loved spending an hour catching up with some of my dearest friends over a video call. The quizzes may have taken a back seat, but spending some time checking in and having a giggle has been well needed, and I always come away feeling happier.

Although it can feel tough to find the good in this strange year, I would recommend taking a moment to stop, pause and reflect on what has made you smile, as often as you can. Perhaps it’s something you are grateful for, the moments or people which bring you happiness. The more you practice this, the easier and more natural it will become to notice the little things, which can really have a big impact on your outlook.

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way Monday – Friday throughout lockdown, so don’t miss out!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

There’s Still Time For Us Yet…

3 Key Concepts For Relaxation

Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

Overcoming My Fears

Comparing My Favourite Purple Shampoos

That Salon Hair Feeling!

Comparing My Favourite Purple Shampoos

Blonde hair can sure be high maintenance, let alone when it comes to choosing the perfect purple or silver shampoo, to maintain that lovely blonde. I for one know that there are 50 Shades of Blonde so I’ve taken it upon myself to show the results of two of my favourites! This video took me a while to make as I decided to compare it on both ash blonde and beige blonde hair, so you can really see the difference!

Watch the video below to see the results of Kérastase’s Absolu-Blond vs Redken’s Blondage… enjoy!

Buy the Kérastase shampoo here
Buy the Redken shampoo here

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also like:

AF X PRIMARK | Hair Review – Video

AF X Primark (Part 2)| How I Curl My Hair

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5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

Lessons in My 20’s

Growing up I was always considered a “nice” person. As a child, I had (fortunately) never really experienced what it felt like to be left out, or actively disliked. So when I arrived at University, it was a shock to learn that not everyone was as nice as me. That just because I was kind, did not mean others would be kind back; a lesson I’m sure we all have learned along the way. As an adult, I was even more shocked to learn how often rude and patronizing people somehow ended up as managers. This made me wonder, do nice girls and guys really finish last?

Over the last few years, I have unfortunately heard stories and seen firsthand adults be publicly embarrassed in the workplace, only to be left on the brink of tears. I remember earlier this year on my Monday commute into work, I had a similar instance – albeit not in the office. There I was, smiling and standing patiently at Marylebone Station on a cold Winter’s morning, completely unprepared for what was to happen next. There had been issues with the ticket barriers that day – a nightmare for any London commuter. As a result, this meant pandemonium erupted among the hundreds of people who were rushing to get to work. When it was my turn to go through the gates, the employee checked my ticket only to realize I had the wrong one, and reacted as if I had tried to cheat the whole of Transport for London. She shouted at me as if to make an example out of me, utterly humiliating me in the process in front of a crowd people. I remember my face began to feel hot, my eyes began to well up with tears, and my blood began to boil. I was completely taken aback by her overreaction and this moment of humiliation. I then became increasingly aware of the eyes of onlookers watching this moment of drama unfold, all before it was even 8 AM.

It had in fact been totally her own fault, rather than mine (which I suppose so often is the case in these kind of scenarios) as I had told her as I approached, about the ticket dilemma. However I managed to hold it together, and calmly called her out on her behaviour. I stood up for myself, correcting her on what had actually happened with ticket-gate (excuse the pun) and told her there was absolutely no need to treat me, or anyone else like that. I then proceeded to complain about this to one of her team members. Whether this was taken seriously I do not know- I certainly did not receive an apology. Nonetheless, I was proud of how I handled this stranger’s outburst and that I had kept myself mostly together. In that moment, I empathized with those who may experience such behaviour in the workplace. Thinking about this now, I wonder how this kind of scenario may be playing out in a remote setting. I also wonder if I would have reacted the same way if it was my boss speaking to me in such a rude manner, rather than a complete stranger. How would I act, especially now, where there is an increasing amount of anxiety around job security? I sincerely hope that I would have the courage and resilience to deal with this, or that a kind colleague would step in and show me some support if needed.

2020 has been a tough year on many levels, and whilst I may not have all the answers, I know that being nice does not cost a thing. I remember reading an article on The Everygirl about protecting your heart at work, which emphasized just how important emotional resilience is. Although I still have so much more to learn and I know inevitably there will be more hurdles to overcome, here are some of the lessons I have learned in my 20’s so far…

  1. The company I keep both in an out of work is important
    The people we surround ourselves with have a direct impact on our wellbeing and outlook on life. Take a look at those nearest to you and figure out if they add value to your life and if they build you up as a person.

  2. Other people’s opinions of me do not validate me
    Whenever I catch myself ruminating about silly thoughts like what I said earlier that day, I stop myself. Instead I try to focus my energy on my own goals, rather than wasting energy on needless worry.

  3. Showing my “true” self can be daunting but liberating
    I used to differentiate my identity between my “work” self and “true” self, and now count myself lucky to work somewhere where I feel I can and want to, bring my whole self to work. This also means I feel more authentic in my choices and am able to bounce back easier on days which are challenging.

  4. It’s better to be understood than to be liked
    Not everyone will like me, and that’s fine, despite the people pleasing voice I have in my head!

  5. Not everyone shares the same ideas or outlook as me
    As obvious as this, really taking time to digest and understand this has made a huge difference. This was also summed up really succinctly for me in the Everygirl article,

    Most people see interactions as swift, emotionless transactions ; whilst this is true in many businesses, it doesn’t mean you have to be the same, just recognize that there are others like that”.

  6. How people act and respond to you often comes from them projecting their own feelings from what’s happening in their own life, rather than in response to the actual content of what you have said.

  7. Being smart and kind will always be cool

  8. Always trust and listen to your gut

  9. Feel the love

  10. Nice people certainly do not finish last
    Being nice isn’t a weakness, it is a strength.

I’d love for you to share some of your tips or lessons you have learned with me in the comments below!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

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3 Key Concepts For Relaxation

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the word, relax? For me, I often picture myself having fun on holiday sunbathing in the summer sun, somewhere hot and exotic. Deadlines, clock-watching, routine – it’s all out of the window. At the risk of sounding a bit hippy, I’ve noticed that when I am relaxed I quite literally live in the moment. As we push through the final stretch of the year, it can certainly feel that we can only give permission to ourselves to relax once we have achieved X,Y, and Z. That we need to push ourselves as far as we can, until we’ve earned it. However, that does not need to be the case. Whilst I am a huge advocate for hard work and productivity, I also place immense importance on balance.

Here are just a few tips which have helped me to find some balance and time for relaxation:

1. Get comfortable with setting boundaries

I spoke a lot about the importance of getting organized in my blog post, Get More Time Back In Your Day. It is important to remember that with organization, also comes boundaries. It may sound ironic to plan time in to relax, but I promise you will reap the benefits if you do. In order to prioritize relaxation, it may however require you on occasion to say no to other things. I’ll be the first to admit that this is something that I have always found very difficult, but have got a lot better at in recent years. As a result of setting boundaries for myself, it means that I have time in my evening to dedicate to that episode on Netflix I’ve been saving, or even time to blog – both things which I find therapeutic!

2. Set the mood

We all know atmosphere is so important for relaxation. How the smell of one cinnamon candle can lift your mood and get you singing, “All I want for Christmas” without even realizing it. Whether it’s a bath, fragrance oil diffusers, or even the smell of a simple hot-chocolate, play to your senses and set the mood for relaxation. Switch on those fairy lights and focus on what you can smell and see, as you cozy up in your dressing gown, and feel the tension slowly melt away.

3. Empty your mind

My third recommendation is planning to actively do something, which will by default empty your mind. This can include going back to your childhood roots with some art therapy (yes you really can get colouring books for adults!) Take time to do something that you find de-stresses you. It may be painting, knitting, or taking the dog out for a walk, all of which serve as a form of mindfulness. Some other ideas can include meditation, breathing exercises, light walks and one to one conversations with someone close to you.

Each of these concepts will help you to minimize restless thoughts and create some peace and quietness in your day, essential for relaxation.

What are some of the things you do to relax? Share them with me in the comments below!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way Monday – Friday throughout lockdown, so don’t miss out!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

Overcoming My Fears

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

That Salon Hair Feeling!

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Get More Time Back In Your Day

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

There’s Still Time For Us Yet…

At the beginning of this year I was filled with so much ambition, optimism and a sense of adventure. After hearing great things about vision boards, I decided it would be the first year I would make one for myself. At first, I began to sprawl many ideas across the page. Some were overly ambitious goals and some were simple ideas. I also noted down things I wanted to try and places I wanted to go. Of course, any new experiences and travel destinations were pushed aside for obvious reasons, but there are still a few things I have managed to achieve, and some that I am yet to start…

Having spent 3 months of this year in lockdown, and 6 months of it living in a socially distanced way that no one could have anticipated, I have had the opportunity to hone in on what kind of life I want to live. It’s allowed me to regularly reassess my vision board and which areas of my life I want to explore and develop. I’d recommend you to leave some space on your vision board, so you can add to it throughout the year for this specific reason. Along the way, I’ve learned that my motivation stems mostly from me being goal-orientated, and achieving those goals requires making intentional and conscious actions repeatedly. One example on my vision board for 2020 included “to live an active lifestyle“. There were a few points this year where it felt a bit too much effort, but I reminded myself that consistent actions will eventually form new habits, and in turn would help me to reach my goal. I would also ask myself, “How would I feel at the start of 2021 knowing that I now prioritize my health and fitness?” That question has stuck with me and helped keep me focused.

With only 5 weeks to go of 2020 I thought it would be a good time to revisit my vision board again, and get thinking about what I want from the year ahead. In case you are interested in doing the same, here are a few questions to get the ball rolling for your vision board:

  • Where do I envision myself one year from now?
  • How do I want to feel about…?
  • What things do I want to achieve?
  • What actions will I need to take to get there?
  • What one word will I choose to help define the year ahead I want/ need?

If you’re naturally arty, creating your vision board will be a really fun activity, but if like me, your creativity is blessed in other ways – don’t worry! Focus more on the content of your board, instead of it’s aesthetics. I’d also recommend you to add some goals which aren’t just material based. This will be a lot more satisfying and you’ll notice a lot of personal growth! Remember, we may be knocking on December’s door, but there is still some time left this year to get started. Do not wish the year away, when so much more can still come from it!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way Monday – Friday throughout lockdown, so don’t miss out!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

Overcoming My Fears

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

That Salon Hair Feeling!

Opening Up| How I Began Exercising Consistently – 6 Month Fitness Update!

Get More Time Back In Your Day

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

5 Easy Everyday Hairstyles

One thing I’m thankful for this year, is wearing my loungewear throughout lockdown. However spending so much time seeing myself on video calls throughout the week, I have become a bit bored of my go-to natural-air-dried-hair. So I thought I’d share with you 5 easy ways I am styling my hair, with each look only taking up 5 minutes of my day! All you need is a hairbrush, some hair ties, a hair straightener/curler, hairspray and texture spray (I’d recommend Andrew Fitzsimon’s which is available from Primark).

  • Style 1: Loose plaits
    • Starting at the nape of your neck, plait your hair in two.
    • Leave a few strands of hair around your face for a more casual look.
    • Loosely pull the plait for a more undone style.

  • Style 2: Loose curls
    • The beauty of curling hair just to stay at home, is that you don’t need to worry about spending time styling the back of your head!
    • Using your styling tool of choice, take 2 inch thick strands of hair and curl from the middle of the hair down.
    • For a beachy wave, curl in alternative directions.
    • I’d always recommend to curl the pieces of hair which frame your face outwards, rather than towards the face.
    • Brush out or use your fingers to loosen the curl.
    • Use texture spray and hairspray for some volume and extra hold.
    • N.B. Curling works best on hair that isn’t freshly washed.

  • Style 3: Half-up & half-down
    • Simply part the top third of your hair and tie with an elastic.
    • For this look, tie it up higher than you usually would so you can show off your locks on your video call!

  • Style 4: Accessorize
    • The simplest of them all – grab your headbands, hair clips, scrunchies and accessorize your hair! You’ll be surprised how put together this will make you feel.
  • Style 5: Top knot
    • This has been my no.1 lockdown look! Roughly pull the hair back into a ponytail and wrap it loosely round into a bun, focusing on positioning it close to the crown of your head.
    • If working on hair which is a day or two old, you can tie the bun more loosely with an elastic.
    • If freshly washed, your hair will be smoother so tie the hair up tighter, to hold for longer.
    • I like to add texture spray for added lift!
    • If you’re feeling super fancy, you can also accessorize the bun with a scrunchie!

What hairstyle have you been loving recently? Let me know in the comments!

Come follow me on my Instagram @nataliatalksabout and check out my IGTV below to see how I created these looks!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way Monday – Friday throughout lockdown, so don’t miss out!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

AF X PRIMARK | Hair Review – Video

Ola-what-a-plex?

That Salon Hair Feeling!

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8 Minute Total Body Workout

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

Overcoming My Fears

This year I’ve committed to watching I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and it’s genuinely bringing me so much joy – especially in lockdown. Should fame ever come my way, I would love to be a contestant on that show – come on manifestation, do your thing! I’ve always considered myself to be quite adventurous. Having camped every summer whilst growing up, I would bat away badgers, ants and cope with treacherous weather, among many other challenges! The premise of I’m A Celeb, comes down to overcoming your fears. We are only born with two fears; the fear of falling and of loud sounds. So it’s interesting to think that everything else is learned, and that most are irrational. During my early adulthood years, I accidentally discovered one of my fears (I suppose that’s the way they all are discovered though). I say “accidentally” because it’s genuinely something I discovered by accident, and it took me by surprise…

A few years back, I was on holiday in Cyprus enjoying the sunshine and tzatziki (although not together), having the time of my life. One afternoon I went on a boat trip. This was my very first boat trip abroad and it was very different than the kind you go on along the River Thames; there was sunny weather and crystal blue waters for a start! There was a portion of the boat trip where you get off and swim in the sea. Here there are two options for how to get into the water. You can either enter by climbing down the ladder (easy), or you can go to the top of the boat, climb over the railings and jump in. I’m sure you can see which direction this story is going in…

My boyfriend told me how much fun the second option was, and me being me, I was up for trying something new. It’s not that big of a drop, about 15 – 20 feet, I thought to myself. So I took off my sunglasses, made my way to the top floor of the boat, all the while feeling calm and collected. I then watched my boyfriend climb over the railing and turn to me with an encouraging smile. I put one hand onto the railing, when my legs suddenly turned to jelly. At that very moment, that scene in Titanic where Rose almost jumps off the ship came to mind. “Nope, I’m not doing it. There is no way I am flinging myself off this. Not for me. No thank you!” was the physical reaction my body was having, before I even got around to saying the words aloud. After a minute or so, I took a deep breath, and I climbed over. I kept a firm grip on the rails behind me, and I stared at the ocean. (Side note: My hands have gone clammy and my armpits have even begun to sweat as I write this!) I was reluctant to let go, but I did not want my fear of this thing that I’ve never done before, to get the better of me. Eventually after a lot of encouragement from my boyfriend and even the other guests on the boat, I psyched myself up. I jumped into the water, which was complete with a mighty scream. This very (dramatic) jump had much of the other guests in fits of laughter, and I think I may recall a bit of clapping and whooping – although that part may be a bit exaggerated. As I emerged from the water, I realised nothing bad had happened to me in this moment. I’ve continued to force myself to do that jump many times since, and it gets a bit easier each time, (although the thought of this now still majorly freaks me out!)

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Mist Falls Trail, Yosemite National Park

Evidently I have a fear of heights, combined with the fear of falling. Strangely enough I’m fine on planes, but if I go into a glass elevator you will most definitely witness my panic. No word of a lie, I have noticed onlookers laugh at me in amusement, at my minor freak out during the course of a five second glass elevator journey. This same scenario has played out in theme parks too. I love that sense of adventure and enjoy fast roller-coasters, but any ride where I am up super high, followed by a steep drop terrifies me. The perfect example here being Rush at Thorpe Park, and don’t even get me started on some of the rides I went on at Six Flags in California.

I can also vividly recall one hike in Yosemite along the Mist Falls trail leading to Nevada Falls. On this hike you climb beside a waterfall. The water sprays create a mist, resulting in a rainbow appearing the higher you climb. I love being active and I especially love the outdoors, but I couldn’t bear to look down the whole time we hiked. At the top I felt a sense of satisfaction, but it was the hike back down which I found the most challenging. If you want to see my internal panic, there was also a similar moment I captured during my Wales Vlog at 7:01 – 7:18. On the Yosemite hike, there was however a humorous moment which broke my tension. I was trying my best to hold back the tears and a fearless girl who must have only been about seven years old, marched right past me, brave as can be! Who knows, it could have been the Ghost of Christmas Past, reminding me of what I too used to be like as a child.

So what have I learned? Well, I know I will continue to force myself to climb a few more peaks in the future. I will also try to push myself to do more things that scare me. Throughout each of these moments, I persevered and I certainly don’t regret doing any of those activities. I’ve learned that quite often on the other side, once you push through the fear and discomfort, that’s where growth lies.

However, should I ever have to abseil down a cliff backwards like they did on I’m A Celeb, I would probably react the same as Jordan North and let my nerves get the better of me. Nonetheless, I know that I am far stronger and capable than I give myself credit for and I should not let my fears hold me back – whatever capacity that may be in. That being said, I can’t imagine myself jumping out of an aeroplane just yet… Maybe one day!

What’s one fear you have tried to overcome? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and it made you smile! If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way Monday – Friday throughout lockdown, so don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

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You may also enjoy:

Yosemite Vlog

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

That Salon Hair Feeling!

Emma Hardie’s Starter Kit | Honest Review

8 Minute Total Body Workout

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

That Salon Hair Feeling!

Happy humpday readers! It’s the perfect time to do some self-care and what’s better than some TLC for your hair?

With Black Friday and Christmas around the corner, this is the perfect product to buy as a gift, for a friend or for yourself! There is a reason this hair mask is so popular… watch my video to see the result!

Buy the Coco & Eve, Like a Virgin hair mask here: https://amzn.to/2UCL65o

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month Monday – Friday, so don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

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You may also enjoy:

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

Ola-what-a-plex?

Kardashian Hair? |Andrew Fitzsimon X Primark

Emma Hardie’s Starter Kit | Honest Review

8 Minute Total Body Workout

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

Get More Time Back In Your Day

I don’t know about you, but since working from home over the last eight months, I have 100% suffered from screen fatigue. At the start of the pandemic, how to be productive was top of mind to help me navigate this new virtual world. However fast forward to November, I am now experiencing tiredness from the constant video calling. It’s got to the point where even some of my non-meetings, which are meant to be fun and informal, are beginning to feel like meetings. The social calls, the casual 1:1’s, the impromptu how-the-heck-do-I-solve-this-problem kinda calls, still have an element of planning to them. They each require you to send over a meeting invite, set up a new VC link, whilst also making sure your room and your appearance both are relatively presentable, and any other distractions are kept to a minimum. At the same time, you are trying to do your job in one space which has no boundaries between your home and work life. I am also currently working in the world of recruitment, so on top of these video calls with colleagues, friends and family, there are also candidates and interviewers thrown into the mix. Now, that’s a lot of mascara I go through, I’ll tell you that much!

Of course video calling has been essential in helping us to cope and stay connected. It has also aided some of us to continue working throughout the pandemic, but there is no doubt it is also very time consuming and tiring. I’m pretty sure I spend on average at least eight hours of my work week, solely on video calls. Maybe like me, you too have felt the need at some point to always be visible online to your team, fearing you’d be seen as slacking if you weren’t. I created this expectation that I had to respond straight away to that email, or instant message via Microsoft Teams/ Workplace/ Slack, whatever it may be, despite this memo never coming from my employer. In fact, I feel quite lucky to say it has been quite the opposite. I have had open conversations about the reality of working from home with my managers and team, who each have related and encouraged healthier and smarter ways of working. Of course there are still elements to working from home which are more convenient than office life, but by no means is every day a walk in the park. From wifi issues, home distractions, loneliness, screen fatigue and working more intensely, it can feel difficult and disheartening. If you can relate to any of these things, I wanted to share with you a few tips that have helped me claim back time in my day, and improve my work-life balance.

It all comes down to smart planning. With daylight hours getting shorter, I ensure that I make time for a walk and some form of exercise every single work day. I plan this around when there are no meetings (and in my case, interviews) coming up, so that I am less likely to be distracted and interrupted. Just as I used to utilize my commute into work to practice mindfulness, I continue to plan time in for me. I do my best to get at least 30 minutes fresh air a day, with the incentive of getting some steps in on my FitBit. I also love podcasts and am back into the habit of listening to these on my walk. I am still loving Sibling Revelry if anyone needs a recommendation!

Every day I also block out my lunch break in my diary for two reasons. The first being so no one puts in any additional meetings, and the second so that I remember to actually take a lunch break. I work best in quiet spaces so my work days tend to zoom past, however this means that I physically need a reminder to take a break. I also try to avoid working lunches, and go to a different room to eat. I’ve found that the change of scenery makes a huge difference to my mindset.

Block out your time as much as possible. Whether you can introduce a no meeting day rule (so you can actually do your job), or no meetings on a Friday after 4pm, make your day work for you as much as you can.

Be honest and set expectations with yourself and your manager. Do you really need to be at that meeting for the whole hour, or is your time better spent only joining for the first or last 15 minutes? Although you may be conscious of building and maintaining relationships at work, some things can be better summed up in an email, rather than a meeting. If you find this is happening regularly, feed it back and discuss it with your team. The chances are, everyone else is also thinking the same thing.

It’s important to acknowledge that we most definitely aren’t in the same working world that we were in back in March. Therefore I encourage you to feel empowered to break or reshape some of your old working habits, as we continue to work remotely.

I’d love to hear your tips on how to claim back time in your day, feel free to share with me in the comments below!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month Monday – Friday, so don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

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You may also enjoy:

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

Dinners To Try This Week!

8 Minute Total Body Workout

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

Phillips Sonicare Protective Clean | Review

Six months ago I made a decision which really has changed my daily life… I bought a new toothbrush! On the theme of wellness this month, I thought I’d take a different angle and drive your attention to those pearly whites. It’s rare I write posts about something so basic, but I have been so impressed with the results of my recent upgrade, so I thought I ought to write a review.

I have always tried to take great care of my teeth, and to this day *touch wood* I haven’t had any filings or dental work. I keep up with my two dentist and hygienist appointments a year but other than that, I stick to the basics of brushing and flossing twice a day. However I must admit, flossing has always been touch and go. Yet now that I’m not scrambling in the morning to get out of the door to catch my train to work, it’s definitely become more of a regular habit, as opposed to a white lie that my hygienist would hear. After spotting a discounted deal on the Phillips Sonicare Protective Clean brush in pastel pink I decided to invest. I mean, why shouldn’t your toothbrush be both functional and aesthetically pleasing?

Find on Amazon here

In addition to the toothbrush you also get a travel case, charger and one toothbrush head. At first, I was surprised just how ticklish the toothbrush was. I genuinely had to turn it off because there was a lot of frothy dribbling toothpaste everywhere, (there’s a reason why this is a blog post rather than a video!). But I stuck it out and am so glad that I did. I like the fact that the built in pressure sensor lets you know if you are brushing too hard, and the brush even reminds you when it’s time to replace the toothbrush head. Now that is smart! The brush claims to remove seven times more plaque than a manual toothbrush, and whilst I may not be able to prove if this is true, I can say that I can really notice the difference of how clean my teeth feel. Since using this over the last few months, it has also definitely made my teeth whiter- and that’s without even changing my toothpaste. I recently paid a visit to the dentist, and even they commented on how great my teeth are looking! Plus I can confirm that the toothpaste froth is now down to a minimum.

Despite using an electric toothbrush for at least seven years, it’s fair to say that there absolutely is a difference between electric toothbrushes. I now actually look forward to brushing my teeth! You may be thinking, “But Natalia, it really isn’t that big of a deal.” Well I would argue this upgrade is up there on one of the best purchases I have made this year! Now there’s something I didn’t think I’d say, but hey that’s 2020 for you! Get ready to add to basket on Friday 27th November!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

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You may also enjoy:

Dinners To Try This Week!

8 Minute Total Body Workout

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

Obsessing Over McFly | Song Challenge

On 13th November McFly released their latest album “Young Dumb Thrills”, and I have been playing it on repeat this weekend. For any fellow fans, they also released a documentary on ITV the following day called “All About Us”, which discusses why the band had a music hiatus. Many moons ago back when live music was taken for granted, I was lucky enough to see them live in concert a day before I headed off to University. In some ways that concert’s timing was very fitting. As I was ending the chapter on my adolescence and stepping into adulthood, there I was singing my heart out to a band that had shaped my childhood years. Listening to my favourite McFly songs this weekend, has reminded me of the power that music has. I love how music brings people together and how just one song can transport you back to a very specific time in your life. So I thought for this blog post, it would be fun for you to get to know me a bit better with a song challenge!

  • A song that reminds me of my childhood: Reach for the Stars, S Club 7
  • A song from my pre-teen years: Year 3000, Busted
  • A song from my teen years: Empire State of Mind, Alicia Keys
  • A song that reminds me of University: I’m A Mess, Ed Sheeran
  • A song I’m currently loving: Tonight is The Night, McFly
  • A song that I love which mentions Christmas: The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole
  • A song that reminds me of Summertime: It Ain’t Me, Selena Gomez
  • A song that needs to be played loud: Numb, Linken Park
  • A song I listen to when I exercise: Let’s Get Loud, Jenifer Lopez
  • A song that I have seen played live: Time Is Running Out, Muse
  • A song that I know all the words to: Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
  • A song that I wish I knew all the words to: Any Eminem song (what a cool party trick that would be)
  • A song that I cannot stand: Ride On Time, Black Box
  • A song that calms me down: Hesistate, Jonas Brothers
  • A song that breaks my heart: I’ll Never Cry Again, Lady Gaga
  • A song that makes me cry: Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Elvis Presley
  • A song that cheers me up: Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself, Jess Glynn
  • A song that someone has sung for me: Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, John Mayer
  • A song that is iconic: Tiny Dancer, Elton John
  • A song that inspires me: Last Hope, Paramore

After reflecting on these songs, I really can’t wait to go to a concert again one day! What are some of your chosen songs? Let me know in the comments below! If you take part in the song challenge make sure to tag me, I’d love to see!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

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You may also enjoy:

Dinners To Try This Week!

8 Minute Total Body Workout

Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

Dinners To Try This Week!

With the weather getting chillier, today I am sharing with you a roundup of my favourite 7 recipes to warm you up. Lockdown may have you feeling like every day is Groundhog Day, but your meals don’t have to follow suit! All of the below recipes I have selected are easy to cook, and will scratch that restaurant quality itch you may be missing!

Full recipe and ingredient lists are all linked below

Butternut Squash Soup
Cookie + Kate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes

best butternut squash soup recipe

During these Autumn months, I really love cooking and eating squash vegetables. Although technically a fruit, butternut squash is rich in Vitamin C, a source of Vitamin A and can be roasted, toasted, sautéed and puréed for soup! This meal will go down a treat, especially with some crusty bread.

Beef Goulash
Hairy Biker’s
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes

Beef goulash

I first discovered this recipe as a student where a slow cooker was my best friend. Start preparing this in the morning and let it’s flavours marinade all day. This hearty dish can be served with either bread, rice or potatoes.

Pulled Pork Burger
Inspired Taste
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours

Two hands holding a sandwich filled with shredded pork and coleslaw.

Another slow cook meal of dreams. Serve this burger with a brioche bun for an instant gourmet spin. Use the leftovers for tacos, meaning you also double up on meal prep – that’s if there are any left!


Vegan Stew
Healthy Living James
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Stew

I discovered this after having an intense craving for black beans and sweet potato, and boy you will not be disappointed! If you struggle to find black beans in the shops, you can absolutely swap it for spicy red chilli beans or kidney beans (or both!). I added these all and it was delicious! Serve with rice or quinoa.

Chicken Tray Bake
BBC Good Food
Prep Time: 30 minuted
Cook Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Ras-el-hanout chicken traybake

Who says you need to save Mediterranean food only for the Summer? This easy one pot recipe would make a lovely mid-week dinner or on days where you are short on time. If you don’t have any ras-el-hanout spice, I would recommend substituting it for your own spices which you may have at home. I used equal parts paprika, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and coriander instead. I also personally left out the fresh thyme, coriander and natural yogurt, and it still tasted amazing!

Veggie (& Vegan) Paella
BBC Good Food
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Vegetable paella

This vegetarian paella is sure to mix up your taste pallet. Rather than using saffron which can be very expensive, I use tumeric which adds enough spice and also gives that lovely golden yellow colour. I always find that rice takes at least an hour to cook though, so factor this in to avoid any hangry moments!

Chicken Katsu Curry
BBC Good Food
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Curry in bowls with rice and sauce

In absence of Wagamamas, try this easy-peasy recipe at home. If you want to simplify this even more, buy already breadcrumbed chicken like chicken goujons which will taste just as good. Unless you want to be fancy and serve this for guests, I don’t see the need for ribbon slices of cucumber and carrot either. Remember that this recipe does serve four and it will absolutely be too much sauce for just two, so either halve the required amount or keep it for leftovers the next day. Serve this meal with a wedge of lime and enjoy!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

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You may also enjoy:

8 Minute Total Body Workout

Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

Emma Hardie’s Starter Kit | Honest Review

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

8 Minute Total Body Workout

If you have followed me on my blog throughout 2020, you will know that living an active lifestyle has been a main focus of mine this year. I am pleased to say that I am now into my 11th month of consistent exercise and I am feeling better than ever. I personally love exercise routines which have a combination of both Pilates and high intensity interval training (HIIT). I find them fun, but also challenging enough to build up a sweat. Pilates is great for improving your posture and muscle tone, as well as improving your strength and flexibility. HIIT however focuses on quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by a short recovery period which will be sure to raise your heart rate, and burn fat in quickly! If you are looking for a new workout to try, here is my current favourite total body routine. Save the below workout for either your next warm-up, or use as a basis for a circuit. For a warm-up I would recommend that each exercise should be completed for 30 seconds and be repeated twice through. Let’s get that heart rate pumping!

1. Mountain climber variations
Mountain climbers or floor sprints as they may also be known, are sure to get your heart rate up!

Mountain Climbers | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • Variation 1. Begin in the plank position, with arms directly under the shoulders and lift your right knee straight forward, as if to sprint towards your right elbow. Repeat with left knee.
  • Variation 2. Bring your right knee diagonally to your left elbow. Repeat on left handside.
  • Variation 3. Bring your leg to the outside of your elbow and repeat on both sides.

2. In and out’s
Not as evil as a regular burpee!

  • Position yourself in the plank, but jump forward to bring your knees directly under your chest.
  • Next jump back into the plank and repeat.

3. Forearm hip dips

This one targets your core, but specifically your obliques!

  • Position yourself in the plank but this time rest on your forearms.
  • Twist your core from side to side, trying to keep your back as straight as possible, without dipping into the floor. It’s harder than it looks!
70+ Core Excerises ideas | workout guide, abs and obliques workout, spotebi

4. The 100
Time for some Pilates! This classic Pilates move is sure to burn your abs!

Pilates Illustrated: Your Core-Strengthening Workout!
  • Sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front, bring your legs up into the tabletop position. Make sure to keep your head, neck and shoulders lifted off the mat.
  • Your lower back/spine area should be on the mat. Imagine there is a string going from your belly button, through your back to the mat to keep you centered.
  • Taking deep inhales and exhales, begin to bump your arms up and down for 100 reps (or however many you can do in 30 seconds).

5. Dish tuck
Another Pilates fave – remember to exhale for power!

Seated Knee Tucks | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • For beginners, place your arms just beside you on the mat. If you are looking for a bit more of a challenge, extend your arms back and out.
  • Tuck your knees into your chest and repeat, exhaling as you bring them in, and repeat.

6. Oblique side plank
Wake up muscles you never knew you had!

Side Plank | Illustrated Exercise Guide | Workout guide, Abs and obliques  workout, Oblique workout
  • Stack your feet either on top of each other as above, or put the top foot just in front of the bottom leg for extra support.
  • Either hold for 30 seconds with your hand on hip or hand in the air, or do pulses towards the floor.
  • Repeat on the other side on the second set and feel the burn!

7. Tricep dips
Give a new meaning to couch potato

Tricep Dips | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • Using either your sofa or a chair, place yourself just over the edge, extending your legs forward and elbows back.
  • Slowly lower your body into a 90 degree angle, keeping your elbows straight back and close to target the triceps, rather than pointed out wide.
  • Lift yourself back up and repeat.

8. Squat jumps
End on a high!

Squat Jacks | Illustrated Exercise Guide
  • Standing with feet hip width apart, lower yourself down into a squat, keeping your upper body as straight as possible.
  • Push back into your heels and jump up in an explosive movement, landing back into the starting position and repeat.

Let me know if you tried the workout and what you thought of it!

The above sporting images can be found on Spotebi, Style Blue Print and The Every Best of

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

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You may also enjoy:

Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

Emma Hardie’s Starter Kit | Honest Review

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

I Went on Holiday During a Pandemic…!

AF Hair Review | Kardashian Hair Stylist

Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

Mindfulness is a type of meditation which focuses on the awareness of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment. It is free from interpretation and judgment of your own thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness helps to relax the body and mind, as well helping to reduce stress levels. Today I am sharing with you a guided mindfulness activity. This was one of the very first things I did when I began studying for my Psychology degree, so it’s super beginner friendly if you haven’t tried mindfulness before. All you need for this activity is 5 minutes, 1 chocolate (or a raisin), and a pen and paper (or your phone will do).

The below activity was sourced from Duke Intergative Medicine. My personal choice for this exercise is a small Celebrations sized Malteser chocolate! Ready to begin? Find a comfortable and quiet spot and get your chocolate at the ready…

  • First, unwrap the chocolate, take it out of it’s wrapper(if it has one), and hold it between your index finger and thumb. Focus solely on the chocolate and try to imagine that this is the very first time you have ever seen this food.
  • Take some time to examine it carefully. Really look at it. Give it your full attention.
  • Allow your eyes to wonder across the chocolate, focusing on it’s shape. Are there any different colours? What does it’s surface feel like?
  • Examine it’s texture and note if there is any light shining on it, or if there are any shadows.
  • Begin to turn the chocolate between your finger tips, and continue to focus on it’s texture.
  • Apply a very small amount of pressure to the chocolate – is it soft or is it hard? Feel free to close your eyes if that allows you to really focus on how the chocolate feels between your fingers.
  • Recognize this is as chocolate. What thoughts do you have about this chocolate, if any? Are there any specific memories that come to mind? Do you like or dislike them?
  • Now hold the chocolate under your nose, and take a few natural breaths in. With each inhale, notice how the chocolate smells.
  • Continue to breathe the chocolate in and out, but now turn your attention to the effect this has had on your mouth and your stomach.
  • Slowly bring the chocolate close to your mouth. Notice if you have begun to salivate, as your body and mind prepares itself for eating.
  • Next without chewing, place the chocolate gently into your mouth.
  • Over the next 10 seconds or so, feel the chocolate with your tongue and become aware of the sensations of having it there.
  • Take a moment to become aware of this deliberate pause. How does it feel to take some time before eating this piece of chocolate?
  • When you are ready, prepare to chew. Take one or two bites into it without swallowing, and notice what happens when you do so. Bring your full attention to the chocolate’s taste and texture as you continue chewing. How does the chocolate’s taste and texture change in your mouth?
  • When you feel ready to, swallow the rest of the chocolate, focusing as you do so as it travels down to your stomach.

How does your whole body feel after completing this exercise? Take a few moments to write down any reflections and answers you may have to the following questions:

  1. Was there anything that surprised you during this exercise?
  2. What did you notice about the chocolate in relation to sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste?
  3. Did you have any thoughts or memories that you recalled during this exercise? If so, what were they?
  4. What is one takeaway from this exercise that you will try to apply to your future eating habits?

I hope that you enjoyed this mindfulness eating exercise! Redoing this activity reminded me how I used to take a moment on my commute to practice mindfulness. This helped set me up for the day ahead, as well a block out any possible annoying commuters…! If anyone has any other activities that you find useful, please do share them in the comments with me.

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month, don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

Emma Hardie’s Starter Kit | Honest Review

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

I Went on Holiday During a Pandemic…!

AF Hair Review | Kardashian Hair Stylist

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

I have always loved Autumn and the changing of the leaves. As a child, Autumn always denoted for me that it was time to go back to school. I remember being so excited when I could finally wear my brand new school shoes (although they didn’t stay shiny and new for too long). As an adult that excitement has been replaced with wrapping up in layers, going out to Bonfire Night displays, and lovely trips down to the pub. Sadly this year, these Autumnal rituals look slightly different. During the first lockdown I shared with you a post about how I felt one month into the pandemic here in the U.K, so it only seemed right to give another update as we go through lockdown 2.0.

I am typically a very “glass half full” type of person, but here we are seven months later and things seem the same as they were in many ways back in April.

During the first lockdown, work and exercise remained as my constants; a routine which kept me busy and sane. I also tried to remind myself of the other positives, such as how much more money I was saving and how much more rested I was feeling. Thankfully the U.K. had an abundance of sunshine this Summer too, which also meant lots of time spent outdoors. As time passed, I was eventually able to enjoy socially distanced meet-ups and walks with friends. However, I couldn’t help feeling a bit anxious that things were opening up far too soon, inevitably causing a delayed reaction in the Winter (lo and behold, here we are). Throughout this, I continued to work remotely and although there were days where I missed the ease of asking my colleagues questions without the need for a video call, the working from home life was “working” for me, so to speak. I even managed to go on a late holiday abroad and felt very safe with all the precautions that were taken.

Then after 2 weeks being back from holiday, it hit me. Life wasn’t going back to normal. Even though this time I had a support bubble, life seemed a bit gloomy. Was it just the holiday blues, I wondered? I didn’t think so. I felt demotivated and disconnected from myself. However I still couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong. At this point, the clocks had also gone back meaning shorter days and less daylight. I found myself going to bed earlier because I simply could not bear the long, dark hours of the evening ahead. I had also watched everything interesting on Netflix and it seemed that exercise only lifted my mood temporarily. I now realize that this was a very delayed reaction to the realization that we are still living in a worldwide pandemic. I was digesting that we will be living like this for far longer than I initially anticipated.

After accepting this, I am now taking each day as it comes. Although I realise just how ironic this blog post may seem for someone who wants to share some positivity, it is important to be open about the days where you may not be feeling so great too. I know that there may be many more days ahead which may feel a bit dark and challenging, but it’s important to speak out and not brush those feelings aside. There is something very refreshing about someone not answering the question “how are you?” with “fine, how are you?”.

As we move through November, I encourage you to check in with your own family and friends (especially the quiet ones) and of course, most importantly – with yourself. If like me you question whether you have the right to feel like you do, try to remind yourself of the below.

Melissa Parkinson on Instagram: “WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT ... I heard  that we are all in the same boat, but it's not like … in 2020 | Storm  quotes, Boating quotes, Storm

Remember, we got through lockdown once and we can do it again. Look after yourselves!

If you enjoyed this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will be more content coming your way every day this month!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

Emma Hardie’s Starter Kit | Honest Review

I Went on Holiday During a Pandemic…!

Lockdown | A Day In My Life In 10 photos

TOPSHOP SUMMER SALE HAUL!

Emma Hardie’s Starter Kit | Honest Review

I first stumbled across the Emma Hardie brand on YouTube when I saw Anna Saccone using her dual-action cleansing cloth in her fake tanning routine. After a bit of research, I was intrigued to try some of her products. The brand is vegan and cruelty-free, focusing on natural healing and skin rejuvenation for all skin types. It is also free from many harmful ingredients such as SLS, parabens, silicones and more. When I saw a combination of Emma Hardie’s bestselling items available in a bundle on ASOS (+ a 20% discount), I couldn’t resist picking up the Emma Hardie Moringa Starter Kit!

The kit is usually £30 and contains the brand’s best selling Moringa Cleansing Balm, dual-action cleansing cloth, a wash-bag and the Midus Touch gel. The premise of the kit is simple; it is your one stop shop for your morning and evening skincare routine. So, how does it work?

  1. The Moringa Balm can be used to cleanse your face and to remove make-up. Simply take a hazelnut amount and rub it into your palm, and then gently into your face and neck
  2. Next soak the muslin (cotton side of the cloth) in warm water, rinsing any excess water and cleanse away
  3. If you wish, you can then use the microfibre side to exfoliate and polish your skin for a dewy glow. Again take a hazelnut amount, apply, rinse with warm water and gently wipe your face
  4. To finish, apply the Midus Touch gel on your neck and face but avoid the eye area

Sounds great! But what does each product actually do?

The Moringa Cleansing Balm removes all traces of make-up and dirt off your face. For the last seven years I have purely used cleansers and/or micellar water rather than make-up wipes to clean my face, and I must admit that I was thoroughly impressed by this product. At first the balm texture is hard in the pot, but easily softens into a liquid substance when you rub it into your palm. As someone with sensitive skin, I was pleased to see that the balm did not irritate my face or eyes. Instead it left it feeling very soft and moisturised, whilst also crucially removing a lot more dirt off my face than any other cleanser I have used.
You can also leave the Moringa Balm on your skin overnight for a super hydrated treatment – something that I looking forward to trying!

I like the size of the dual-action cleansing cloth and definitely noticed on first-impressions that as promised, the microfibre side brightened, buffed and deep cleansed my skin. I also really like the fact that the cloth is machine-washable so it helps to reduce waste and is far more sustainable. I did wonder whether the Midus Touch gel would leave my skin feeling tingly (as so many other products do). However it glided onto my skin and left it feeling cool and calm, resulting in an instant glowy complexion.

Nonetheless, I’ll be honest with you. Having never used a cleanser with a cloth (my simple skincare routine can be found here) I over-complicated the process and confused myself (as can be seen in the video below). I also noticed on the Moringa Balm pot that I bought, that it very disappointingly had some of the branding missing, which I guess was a quality control issue. However, I really loved the results of the products on my skin and in particular would repurchase the Moringa Balm and a couple more cloths. Overall I really like what this brand stands for and am very pleased with these affordable, but slightly luxe purchases and can definitely see why they are bestsellers!

If you want to watch my first impressions of the Moringa Starter Kit, click the video below and remember to like, comment and importantly subscribe to my channel, for a new video coming to you every week!

Psst… for any other newbies to Emma Hardie here, I have also seen that Cult Beauty are offering the Midus Touch Collection for just £20 which includes a miniature sized Starter Kit (15ml products) plus the mini Midus Touch Mask!

If you liked this blog post make sure you subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Also remember that throughout November new content will be coming to you every day throughout lockdown to keep you entertained. Don’t miss out!

Come say hi and follow me on my socials:

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You may also enjoy:

TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

My Skincare Routine

This Week’s Blogging Challenge! | June 22 – 28th

I Went on Holiday During a Pandemic…!

Sarah’s Day Fitness E-Books | Review

TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

Welcome to the first post of my new series – Wellness in Lockdown (2.0 edition)! Over the course of the next four weeks whilst the U.K. is in lockdown, I will be bringing you daily content to help inject some positivity into your lives. From wellness, lifestyle and some food for thought for your day, expect some new posts (and videos) coming your way!

Today I am sharing with you my top rated series you most definitely should binge this November. Whether you are in the mood to belly chuckle, be on the edge of your seat, or maybe even shed a few tears- the below list has you covered!

  • This Is Us

Genre: Drama, Romance
Series released: 5 (new episodes out now!)
Watch on: Hulu and Amazon Prime
I mentioned this series in my post on life in lockdown, but for anyone who missed it or is yet to watch, it is an emotional rollercoaster. There is a reason the show was nominated for 10 Emmy awards in 2017. Filmed in different timelines, the writers cleverly keep you guessing throughout as you follow the story of Jack and Rebecca and their three children throughout their lives. I will not share any spoilers here, but one piece of advice I will give you is to get the tissues ready.

  • Grey’s Anatomy

Genre: Medical Drama, Romance, Comedy
Series released: 15 (16 is out in the States on 12th November)
Watch on: Hulu, Netflix (US) and Sky Go, Amazon Prime (UK)
I first began watching this series back in 2016 and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Follow a group of (good-looking) medical graduates as they try to navigate their way through their intern year in Seattle Grace Hospital. Expect the unexpected! You will form a bond with each character and will have more than enough episodes to keep you busy!

  • New Girl

Genre: Comedy
Series released: 7
Watch on: Netflix
Tag along with Jess and her 3 male housemates who live together in a loft in Los Angeles. At only 20 minutes long per episode, this series is an easy watch and you will be sure to have genuine LOL moments. Rewatching this show over lockdown made me also realise how we each have a bit of Schmitt in us, especially after the type of year 2020 has been!

  • The Morning Show

Drama, Soap Opera
Series released: 1
Watch: Apple TV
A gripping series complete with the brilliant Steve Carrell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston who play morning news hosts. The show examines the theme of the Me Too movement as well as shedding light on the truth of the industry. With a second season promised, this ten part series can easily be watched in a weekend!

  • Little Fires Everywhere

Genre: Novel, Domestic Fiction
Series released: 1
Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime
Based on the book by Celese Ng, this show was produced by Reese Witherspoon’s production company. The actress herself plays a lead role alongside Kerry Washington and focuses on themes such as motherhood, secrecy and rules.

  • The Sinner

Genre: Crime Drama, Mystery
Series released: 3
Watch: Netflix
The series follows Detective Ambrose uncover various crimes. Jessica Biel stars in season 1 as a very troubled woman who stabs a man to death, unbeknownst to her why she committed the murder. This show has many tricks and turns up it’s sleeve! I personally enjoyed season 1 & 2 the most, but it definitely had to be featured on my list!

  • Dead To Me

Genre: Dark Comedy, Tragicomedy
Series released: 2
Watch: Netflix
Christina Appelgate and Linda Cardenelli star as two grieving women who meet at a grief support group. In this hilarious dark comedy series (which is also produced by Will Ferrell), despite the two characters being polar opposites, they end up bonding and forming a close friendship. However will it last when they discover the huge secret that lies between them?

  • My Brilliant Friend

    Genre: Drama
    Series released: 2
    Watch: Amazon Prime , Sky
    Based on the book written by Elene Ferrante, this Italian series is subtitled and follows the friendship of two girls Lila and Elena (also known as Lenu). Beginning in 1950’s Naples, you are immersed into a fascinating world which examines culture, friendship, class and the disappearance of the tenacious Lila.
  • The Body Guard

    Genre: Drama, Political Thriller
    Series released:1
    Watch: Netflix
    Although I watched this series back in 2019, I wanted to add this show to this list because it is so fast moving and captivating; a perfect recipe for a lockdown binge. Richard Madden (known for his work in Game of Thrones and Rocketman) stars as the lead, playing a Scottish war veteran who suffers from PTSD, who must protect a governmental figure he despises.
  • Schitt’s Creek

Genre: Comedy
Series released: 6
Watch: Netflix
My final choice on the list is the show I am still working my way through, but I guarantee that you will enjoy! Schitt’s Creek is based on a wealthy family of four who lose their fortune, and now must live in a small town that they once bought as a joke for his son. The show was created by Dan Levy (who writes, produces and stars as David in the show). Dan Levy’s real life father Eugene Levy, also plays his on-screen dad, Johnny. With witty writing and humour, the sixth season alone recently received 15 Emmy nominations; a record for the most Emmy nominations for a comedy series in it’s final season.

I hope the above recommendations will help you stay entertained over the coming weeks!

If you enjoyed this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about and remember there will be new content coming to you every day this month!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

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You may also enjoy:

I Went on Holiday During a Pandemic…!

One Month In Lockdown

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TOPSHOP SUMMER SALE HAUL!

How To Make Exercise a Habit | 7 Months of Fitness

I Went on Holiday During a Pandemic…!

I honestly did not think I would feel safe enough to travel and/or go on holiday this year. However, the safety measures that were put into place by British Airways and Cyprus’ specific entry requirements, really put me at ease. As a result, I felt comfortable and safe enough to go to the island for a last minute Summer holiday in October. Staying near the famous Ayia Napa, watch my travel vlog to see what I got up to…

P.S. During editing, I noticed just how quiet and peaceful the island really was…!

I hope you will like and subscribe to my blog & YouTube channel if you liked this video (it really helps), to keep up to date with what I’m talking about!

Let me know if you would you like me to write a post on my experience traveling during a pandemic in the comments below and come follow me on Instagram!

Connect with me on socials!

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

TOPSHOP SUMMER SALE HAUL!

With only 11 weeks left of the year, it’s a great time to make the most of the end of Summer sales. Especially for those pieces you may have had your eye on way back in July! Watch my video below to catch up on what I bought in the Topshop summer sale… Prepare for some serious savings (and spending… oops!)

I hope you will subscribe to my blog & YouTube channel if you like these videos, to keep up to date with what I’m talking about!

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Day to Night Skincare Routine | SENSITIVE SKIN

Feeling confident in your own skin can be very hard, let alone doing it bare faced. After years of teenage acne, just when I thought my days of spots and blemishes were over, I suffered from a 6 month allergic reaction to a high end make-up brand. I’ve since been VERY careful on what products I use on my face. Fast forward 7 years later, and here I am!

In the video below I show you my exact DAY to NIGHT skincare routine which I adopted over lockdown. Over the last 6 months I’ve mostly been using Revolution Skincare products, which are vegan, fragrance-free, inexpensive and have left my skin glowing! Watch the video to see my exact skincare routine, with all products linked below.

Items used:

Other items mentioned:

I hope you will subscribe to my blog & YouTube chanel, if you like these videos to keep up to date with what I’m talking about!

You may also like:

My Skin Story

7 Months of Fitness

Kardashian Hair

Olaplex – Hair Review

Connect with me on socials!

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

How To Make Exercise a Habit | 7 Months of Fitness


We’ve all been there. On that cold and dreary first week of January, we dig out our trainers and barely worn exercise gear. We complete a couple of workouts and feel great afterwards. We vow that we’ll keep it up, imagining how we will be looking a year from now. Then life’s distractions come a-knocking and our trainers get dusty. Some months later the sun comes out to play, signalling that summer is on it’s way and we reach for those shoes once again. Although this happens intermittently throughout the year, the whole fitness thing doesn’t seem to quite stick.

I am by no means an expert on fitness. I am just a regular gal who (probably like you) always dreamed of getting fit, and more importantly wanted to keep it up. If you’re not up to date with me, check out this post and this post to find out more about my relationship with fitness throughout 2020 so far. But to summarize, back in Jan 2020 I was determined that this year I would live a more active lifestyle. Over the last seven months I have ensured that fitness is a regular part of my routine. As a result, I have noticed both mental and physical positive changes. I may not be the strongest, most toned or most flexible person I know, but boy have I improved. I feel fitter, happier and calmer and I’m certain this has helped me cope better and navigate my way through the pandemic.

If you’re wondering what my secret is, carry on reading to find out my tips on how to make exercise a habit!

1. Establish what your motivations are, both for the short and long term

It is important to not skip identifying both of these goals as you won’t see results overnight. This will help you have something to aim towards, in both the immediate and distant future.

Examples of short term goals = Get more flexible, become stronger, run three times a week
Examples of long term goals = Live a more active lifestyle, complete a half or full marathon, lose xx kg

2. Choose an exercise you enjoy or have an interest to start

This sounds simple but don’t just run because it feels like everyone else is. If it doesn’t interest you, try pilates, swimming, strength training, HIIT workouts or perhaps something more unique like joining an aerial hoop class! Whatever it may be, each week gradually build up the intensity and the frequency of your workouts.

3. Research how to properly do movements you aren’t familiar with

Whether it’s how to do a squat, easier push-up variations, or maybe something more advanced, make sure you research! Search on Google, YouTube, ask a friend or a personal trainer etc., on the correct form of these moves. Then practice these movements in front of a mirror to see if you’re holding them correctly. This will help your workouts be far more effective and will prevent injury in the long term.

4. Equipment

Buy basic equipment you may need such as a yoga mat, a skipping rope or some weights. There are some great pieces of equipment you can invest in which will also help change up your workouts, keeping them varied and you interested!

Best of both; A little bit of jiggle and a little bit of ab

5. Get the gear on!

Set yourself up for the day by changing into your exercise kit or workout clothes first thing in the morning, so you have no excuse. Matching sets and hair buns are optional!

6. Time your workouts

No one wants to workout after indulging, so if you can keep yourself from reaching for the biscuits for your morning snack, you may be a bit more likely to workout. I try to keep myself hydrated throughout the day and eat well leading up to my workout time. This has definitely helped me follow through and improve my performance during exercise.

7. Commit to the workout

Exercise with someone, or at the very least tell someone about it! This will hold you accountable, committed and motivated!

8. Music is a must

Get a good playlist to keep you motivated and focused on the workout. Spotify and YouTube have some great music to get you inspired to move!

9. Eat well before exercise

When is the best time of day for you to fit this in? Make sure you are realistic! 6:00 AM workouts won’t work if you simply aren’t a morning person. Make sure you also plan to leave time in your day for rest and any other commitments you may have. If you don’t, you may be at risk of quickly resenting your workouts and ultimately not seeing them through. (I like to exercise in the morning between 9:00 – 11:00 AM so that the rest of my day is free).

10. Remember, exercise is not a punishment for food

If you think like this, it’s time to change that perspective! Exercise is something we should reward our body with, and ultimately look forward to. Exercising releases endorphins, hormones that leave you feeling calmer and happier! It can be a stress reliever, a time for team socials, a time to recharge or challenge yourself! For me, exercise allows me to temporarily switch off from everything else going on in my life, and resets my mind to focus on the here and now. Plus, it’s all about balance. I definitely still eat my treats in the week!

11. Document your progress

Keeping track of my progress such as how many more push ups, burpees etc., I can do in a minute, every few weeks has really helped! I’d recommend to also take photos to document how your body changes every month. Seeing how my body has toned as I have gotten stronger and leaner, was a booster on days I felt unmotivated. It’s easy to forget where you started, and had it not been for this I probably would have felt defeated and given up.

12. Believe in yourself

You may not be able to keep up with all the moves or run as fast as you like at the beginning, but challenge yourself and do not compare yourself to others! Push yourself a little more each week. Over the coming weeks and months, you will notice yourself developing more self-discipline & self-confidence! Take it easy and remember, there is no reason why you can’t do it.

I hope you will subscribe if you enjoyed this blog post! If you did, make sure to check out the below too:

2020, A New Meaning to Staycation

Ola-what-a-plex?

Sarah’s Day Fitness E-Books | Review

Opening Up| How I Began Exercising Consistently – 6 Month Fitness Update!

Zara Summer Sale Haul

Come subscribe to my YouTube, follow me and say hi on my Instagram!

2020, A New Meaning to Staycation

In a pre-pandemic life I would never have considered taking a week’s worth of annual leave just to stay at home. Sure, I’ve taken a day or two off in the past to enjoy a long weekend or to run some errands, but a week off work would always equate to a holiday away to sunnier climates. Well this year has definitely been one of firsts, as last week I took a whole week off despite it being the pandemic – correction, particularly because of the pandemic. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far in 2020.

I have always considered myself to be a pretty balanced person, but on reflection my days off have always been filled to the brim. There has always been a “purpose” to the day off. Being British, naturally the weather in the U.K. has played a huge factor in deciding when and if I would be “treating” myself to a long weekend. (N.B. Regardless of what the weather apps say, there is zero promise of nice weather.) I would wait for an occasion, a Summer holiday, for Chirstmas time, or just until I was beginning to experience burn out. Somehow simply taking a few days to actively look after my own wellbeing, enjoying my own company, or to simply rest and relax never seemed reason enough.

Over the last few years, I have always looked forward to the month of June as I have begun to associate it with the promise of down time. I would (without exception) spend between 7-10 days in the summer sun letting go of the stresses of life. It would be filled with getting some vitamin c whilst enjoying reading a book, sleeping in, and sharing a delicious meal in the company of my loved ones. So when my Summer holiday this year to Chicago for a family wedding was cancelled due to the coronavirus, I was really tempted to also cancel my days off work. “What was the point?”, I honestly thought to myself. Somehow taking time off to simply rest (before reaching the point of a near breakdown) was a waste if I couldn’t do all of these aforementioned things. However the more I mulled it over, the more I realized I could really use some time out. Even though the idea of taking time off to just stay in the house that I was locked in for over 100 days seemed mad to me.

The week of my staycation rolled in and contrary to my prior beliefs, it seemed my luck hadn’t quite run out for this year like I thought. A heatwave made it’s way over to the U.K., so I was lucky enough to sunbathe in my garden where I reignited my holiday ritual of picking up a good book. I decided to re-read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and let my mind escape to another world, even though my body could not.

However after a couple of days, inevitably the clouds reappeared and I wasn’t as immersed in the world of Hogwarts as I had been on Day 1 of my staycation. The idea of checking my work emails briefly crossed my mind. It seemed tempting considering that the line (which happened to be a train line) that once separated these two worlds, had now become blurred. However I fought the idea off and made deliberate decisions to distinguish between the two again. Simple actions like preparing a different breakfast every day, helped kick me back into holiday mode. Nonetheless, I still maintained the mentality that I was going to be really productive and utilize this time off. I planned to wake up at my normal time and I made a list of all the things I wanted to do. I knew the amount possible that I could achieve in a working day so surely I would be able to do double in my own free time?! I suppose in essence, yes I could have done just that. But a voice in my head kept repeating that this was my time off. I should be enjoying it rather than adding pressure to what had already been an overwhelming few months. Did I just want to binge watch a new Netflix series? To be honest, not so much. But allowing that to be an option for one of my days off was more than ok. This was my time off to rest and recharge. So, what did I want to do?

  • I started with sleep. I let my body lie in and sleep as much as it needed to without setting an alarm
  • I set myself a blogging challenge! This was really fun and a great way to get those creative juices flowing again. Before I knew it, the ideas for more posts came in one after the other, alleviating the writer’s block I recently had
  • I celebrated a virtual wedding, got dressed up, listened to speeches and danced to music despite being separated across continents
  • I filmed a couple of videos for my YouTube channel
  • I visited my grandmother (whilst socially distancing) who has now since been expanded into my social bubble!
  • I cooked some new dishes that I had never attempted before
  • I exercised daily at my own pace. There were no periodic checks on work emails or carefully timed workouts to coincide with meetings. It was very freeing and I got so much more out of it!
  • Some of you may also be happy to hear, that not one quiz was played in my staycation, something that I am temporarily grateful for after playing at least two or three a week since March

Although I did not go anywhere new or do anything particularly adventurous, I was very happy spending time with just myself. Consciously deciding (or being forced) to stay at home allowed me to find time to be more creative and take time out from the strange new reality that has been 2020. I may not have been exploring a new corner of the world, but I was reconnecting with myself. It also meant that I saved a lot of money that I usually would have spent on going to the beauty salon, the hairdressers or what not. So I guess there are quite a few positives in there after all!

As much as I sincerely hope to be able to travel again and enjoy going out without any worry, I only plan to take a holiday abroad when it’s safe to do so. I honestly don’t know how this year is going to turn out and I won’t overwhelm myself trying to do so, but over the last week I have been reminded just how important time off from the daily grind is. It’s funny to think that as much as I resented hearing about “essential” journeys at the beginning of lockdown, it turned out this most recent staycation was indeed very much essential after all.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post! If so remember to subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. You may also like to read the posts below:

This Week’s Blogging Challenge! | June 22 – 28th

How To Start A Blog (& What To Expect)

Sarah’s Day Fitness E-Books | Review

Ola-what-a-plex?

Zara Summer Sale Haul

Come subscribe to my YouTube and come say hi on my Instagram!

Zara Summer Sale Haul

Happy Tuesday lovelies! Brighten your day with a cuppa alongside my new Zara haul video… enjoy!

If you enjoyed this video make sure to subscribe to my YouTube to keep up to date with what I’m talking about and check out my Instagram!

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Ola-what-a-plex?

ASOS Summer Haul!

Summer Body Skincare

Dublin | Travel Vlog!

Ola-what-a-plex?

First posted January 3, 2018 updated July 2, 2020

In 2016 I finally built up the courage to dye my hair back brown after years of being blonde. Although the brunette colour was lovely and rich (you can see what my hair looked like dark on my post BLONDE VS BRUNETTE: It’s only hair), after a few months I was over it and go figure, I wanted to dye my hair back blonde. Being the poor student I was at the time, I bought a box dye to lighten my hair. Alas, I learned my lesson the hard way and I forgot about the colour wheel that you need to pass through; to go from brown to blonde you have to storm the ginger. (Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately for me, I don’t have any good photos to share with you of my hair at this stage).

It took me 4 salon visits over 18 months to try and get my hair back to a more desirable blonde. Don’t get me wrong, my hair wasn’t awful. It definitely could have been a lot worse.  However when I went to the hairdressers I was desperate to get my hair back to the blonde I previously was. I did everything I could do on my side, I used toner and purple shampoos along with luxurious brands like Kerastasé to keep my hair in as good condition as possible.  However I was still disheartened by the orange, brassy tinge that was still visible in my hair. I expressed my *first world* problems to my hairdresser in May 2017 and she recommended I try mixing Olaplex in with my balayage.

For those of you who don’t know, Olaplex is a product that rebuilds the broken bonds in our hair. It is used to prevent extra damage which occurs when any kind of dye is applied onto it. What’s more, this little product can help you take your hair a few shades lighter. Remember when Kim Kardashian went blonde the first time? There was a ton of Olaplex used in that transformation.

Olaplex can be applied to the hair seperately, after the dye has already been applied, or it can be mixed in with the dye. My hairdresser said the latter is cheaper, more time efficient and mostly has the same effect, so of course I opted for the cheaper option. Luckily this also meant I wouldn’t have to sit down for as long in the chair, whilst my bum went numb! Anyone who has had to sit through a full head of highlights can relate to this!

Olaplex on Amazon

Fast forward to November 2017 and I hadn’t dyed my hair for 6 months.  My roots had grown out and I had a hairdresser’s appointment booked in for December. Although my hair didn’t fade too much in colour, I did notice a build up of brassy blondes. So I decided to try my hand with the No.3 At Home Olaplex treatment and use it once a week, for a month.

So, what happened next?

Following the instructions, once a week before bed, I dampened my unwashed hair to be “towel dry ” and then massaged a generous amount of Olaplex, covering the roots and lengths of my hair. Next using my tangle teezer, I brushed the Olaplex throughout. I then would tie my hair up in a low bun and leave the Olaplex in overnight, sleeping with a towel over my pillow. The next morning I washed and dryed my hair as usual (My 5 Step Styling Routine can be found here). However this time, I kid you not, my hair felt luscious. My first reaction was complete shock at just how smoothly I could brush through my hair, without any semblance of a pull or a tug that I so often battled with. It felt instantly nourishing and moisturising. On first application, the colour did not change, but it felt healthier and looked glossier, just as it had done the first time I used Olaplex in the salon. I then repeated this for the next 3 weeks.

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Before I used Olaplex my hair was brassy and dry

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Week 1: After first application it felt very smooth and I couldn’t stop running my fingers through my hair

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Week 2: I noticed how much stronger and shinier my hair was. *Fist pumps in the air, does Herbal Essences hair swish*

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Week 3: Healthier and glossier hair and a lot less brassiness!

Week 4: It was time for my hairdressers appointment. I decided to keep a more natural look, leaving my roots dark but with the aim of finally eliminating those unwanted orange tones.

I informed my hairdresser that I had been using Olaplex at home and that I was determined to get rid of all leftover box blonde dye. My hairdresser was naturally hesitant, worried that the stronger bleach would weaken my hair and I should do it more gradually. It’s fine, George Michael and I both had faith (lol). In truth, part of me was a bit worried as in the past I had over processed my hair with salon bleach, and sunnier climates had also severely weakened my hair. However I had learned from my mistakes and I was certain that my new regular hair routine would do wonders for my hair.

Below is the outcome of my trip to the hairdressers, and I couldn’t have been happier… until I was caught in a torrential downpour! (SWIPE)

Overall, I would highly recommend the Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector at home treatment. The 100ml bottle will last you a while, as you only need to use a small amount once a week. Olaplex truly is a gift from the God’s. If you don’t believe me, then believe hair guru and hairdresser to the stars, Jen Atkin. If she swears by it, then it must be good.

Enjoyed this post? You should subscribe and read the below:

Summer Body Skincare

Sarah’s Day Fitness E-Books | Review

50 Things I Learned At University

5 Smoothie Recipes To Try Now

In June 2020 I revisited Olaplex and showed you the results of using the product for 10 minutes, once a week over a month. Watch the below video to see my transformation!

ASOS Summer Haul!

Did you catch my ASOS Summer Haul video? With all the nice weather in the UK I invested in some pieces for my very own staycation. Click the video below to watch to see what I got!

If you enjoyed watching this video, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube to keep up to date with what I’m talking about and check out my Instagram!

You may also enjoy the below:

50 Things I Learned At University

Travel Vlog | Wine Tasting in California!

The California Travel Diaries | Welcome to San Francisco

How To Start A Blog (& What To Expect)

So you want to start a blog but not sure where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right place! By now you have probably read several posts on why you should start a blog and if it is hard to do so. To answer both of these questions, yes you should and no it’s not! The hardest thing to do is to get over your fear of sharing your work. I’ve been writing my blog for the last 3 years and frankly, I wish I started it sooner. When I write, hours feel like mere minutes and when I look back on my old posts I can tell just how much my writing has improved. I’ve connected with bloggers all over the world and despite what you think about it being over-saturated, there definitely is a space in the blogosphere for you!

“Where do I start?”, I hear you ask. I’ve broken it down for you in the below checklist so that hopefully it won’t feel as intimidating:

Checklist

1. Blog purpose
You may have heard people say pick your “niche”. But let’s start in a more general sense. What topics will you be writing about? Will it be fashion, plants, women in tech, cooking, baking, travel on a budget, lifestyle, arts &crafts, health & wellness? The list goes on! Once you have decided on this, think about what type of blogs you like to read or would want to read. Will your blog’s purpose be to educate, entertain or perhaps be review based? Once you’ve figured this out, it will help you discover what kind of voice you want your blog to have.

2. Blog name
Once you have decided what you want to write about you can begin thinking about your name. There are lots of name generators online, but if you’re stuck I’d suggest to begin writing a few posts and see what name best reflects the pieces you have written. Then you will need to do a bit of research to see if your blogs name (domain) is available (see point 3).

3. Platform
There are lots of great blogging platforms to use. I use WordPress but there is also Blogger, Wix and Medium to name a few. WordPress has lots of good free templates and packages to choose from. Not sure if you want to invest in blogging right away? That’s ok! There are lots of free templates and a free packages available. Once you have chosen your platform, it will let you search to see if your name is available, and if not it will suggest a list of some alternative names to use.

4. Content & Blog Design
I’d suggest to have a draft post written when you start designing your site, start short between 350-500 words. This will allow you to see what template and style you like best as you start bringing your blog to life. There are so many designs to choose from! I’d recommend to start with the free templates unless you are 100% sure what design you want.

6. Photos
Don’t be shy and add some photos to bring your blog to life. There are so many free stock photos you can add, but get creative and share your work. You don’t need to show your face if you don’t want to and you don’t need an expensive camera. Take photos on your phone and play around with editing them on free apps like Adobe Lightroom or VSCO.

7. About Me
Feel free to add an “About Me” page which should include an introduction to your blog. Why did you start it and what can people expect? Keep it short and snappy.

8. Share!
Perhaps the scariest of them all is sharing your blog with people you know and strangers. It took me 6 months to share my work and tell more than 1 person about it. Then I got too scared and didn’t write for a long time. Ignore the little voice in your head telling you your work isn’t good enough and that people will laugh. Why you started your blog is bigger than this voice. To name a few reasons, for me blogging is a great creative outlet, a wonderful way for my friends and family to keep up with me, a weekly challenge and a fab way to look back on old trips. Share your blog across social media to begin with, maybe set up your own Facebook page, a new Instagram etc. These are free and easy ways to grow your readership.

So what should you expect at the beginning?

  1. You may have some tech issues and frustrations at the start, but remember you’re learning something completely new and YouTube is your best friend!
  2. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to stick to a rigid blogging schedule. Yes, it does help to tell your readers how often you will share posts, but let your creativity come naturally otherwise it just won’t be enjoyable and you will probably give up more often.
  3. Posting more regularly will help increase your blog traffic (i.e. views). In January 2019 I wanted to get back into the swing of blogging so I did a month of daily blogging and I saw a big surge in views.
  4. Unless you already have a large following across your social media, the likelihood is that you will slowly build a readership. But Rome wasn’t built in a day!
  5. Don’t focus on the stats of your blog too much and don’t compare yourself to big time bloggers or influencers. It look a time for them to get there.
  6. Concentrate on writing about what makes you passionate, not what you think people will hear.
  7. Yes you can make money from blogging in the long run, but it likely won’t be lucrative at the beginning. It will be dependent on how many people view your blog monthly, what you are offering to your readers, if you use ads, affiliate links, work with brands etc. But do not let this put you off!
  8. Go at your own pace and again, DO NOT COMPARE.
  9. How long does it take to write a post? Well, how long is a piece of string? I can spend anywhere from 2-6 hours writing and editing my blog posts. Most of my pieces are very lengthy though, so that’s probably my own doing and it depends on the style of the post, e.g. a short story takes much longer to write and edit than a smoothie recipe blog post!
  10. Lastly, remember to enjoy and welcome to the blogging community! Let me know if you’re new to the world of blogging and let’s connect!

I hope you enjoyed this post and will subscribe, like and comment if so. You may also like:

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1 Year Of Blogging

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50 Things I Learned At University

1. Locating your on campus secret take-away after a night out is a must. Mine was known as “The Hatch”!

2. Cooking dinners in batches and freezing leftovers is such a time-saver.

3. Do not skip your turn taking out the bin. There will 100% be maggots if you do.

4. Going back home in the Winter you realise just how warm your actual house was, and you will never complain about the heating at home ever again!

5. If you decide to go back home when you are feeling ill, it will soothe the soul and get you back onto the road of recovery!

6. Pay the delivery charge and order your food shopping online.

7. Find a local Costco or Bookers if you can. You will save your wonga on bulk buys!

8. Student discount shopping nights are fun, but then you realise as a student you’re kind of poor so can’t afford as much as you think.

9. Every night of the week can easily become a “Student” night out.

10. Every year I returned back to university for Fresher’s Week, only to realise I can’t attend any of the events and just spent it going to the local pub instead.

11. You do not need to start finding a house for 2nd or 3rd year until after Christmas. There will always be enough housing!

12. When you do start to look for a house, either pick to be close to campus or close to town. Don’t go really far away just to save money.

13. Do a lucky dip to decide who gets what room.

14. Whoever had the smallest room the year before, gets the biggest room the year after!

15. Put yourself in charge of the utility accounts and bills. It’s a pain to make sure everyone pays, but at least that way you can avoid fines.

16. Make sure you enjoy your new town/ city! Go out to eat, see a show in the local theatre, go to gigs etc.! You are only there for a short period of time.

17. Don’t dip into your overdraft if you don’t have to! It’s a slippery slope.

16. Prepare food to have at home after a night out in advance. Or just get cheesy chips. Cheesy chips are life.

19. Make time to see your school friends at their university.

20. Check in on your home friends even if they go off the radar. Leaving home is hard. Check in.

21. Make the effort to call your family.

22. Missing your 9am lecture isn’t the biggest deal.

23. Make sure you do try throughout your whole degree. Although 40% may only be required to “pass” first year in the U.K., it will make second year a lot easier.

24. Not doing well in a subject? It’s time to grow up, admit it and do the work. Find a buddy to help tutor you, go to the library or stay at home more. Wherever it is that helps you focus the best, make sure you study!

25. You don’t need to buy every text book.

26. If you do buy every textbook, you don’t need to buy it first hand.

27. Have a think of what you actually want to do after your degree in advance, rather than hoping for the best.

28. Put yourself out there and join societies.

29. Not everyone will like you and that’s fine. You will not like everyone either.

30. Stand up for yourself and find your crowd. You are awesome – remember that.

31. Not everyone finds a big group who will be their “friends for life” at uni. Remember, it’s better to have a few good ones than a whole bunch of fake ones.

32. Club nights can be lethal and somewhat overpriced.

33. Take photos. Even if you don’t want to. It’s fun to look back on.

34. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

35. You don’t have to be best friends with the people you live with.

36. It’s okay (ish) to skip some lectures but not seminars – that is way too obvious!

37. If you drink the supermarket’s cheapest wine for long enough, you will not realise just how bad it is. Until the next morning…

38. You can wear whatever the heck you want on campus.

39. It is perfectly acceptable to stay in your dressing gown all day at home.

40. Pre-drinks always beats going out.

41. For your own sake don’t plagarize.

42. A set of speakers and a deck of cards is all you need for a good night.

43. Free pizza and Krispy Kreme sales on campus may come at a price of charity donations or local campus elections.

44. Always back up your work.

45. “Spotted At [insert your town] University” was like a discount gossip girl.

46. Napping is a part of university culture – I think I missed out here!

47. Group assignments will still be a pain just like when you were 14 years old.

48. Never compare or look up the answers after an exam. File them away into a little box away in your mind and crack open a cider instead.

49. The weekly fire alarm drill test will give you a mini heart attack every week!

50. University will go by really quickly. Before you know it it’s 4 years since graduated …

There are still so many things I could have added to this list! I hope you enjoyed this post and will subscribe, like and comment if so!

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Sarah’s Day Fitness E-Books | Review

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5 Smoothie Recipes To Try Now

It’s the start of the summer season and a perfect opportunity to get smoothie making. Even if you don’t consider yourself talented in the kitchen, I’ve listed 5 tried and tested different smoothie recipes below that I guarantee are super easy to make. All you need is a blender and 5 minutes to spare! So what are you waiting for? Take some inspiration from the below and let’s get blending!

Morning Fuel
Forget your Weetabix, have you had your morning fuel?

A tasty smoothie sure to keep you full all morning!

This drink is great post workout or as a breakfast smoothie. Definitely guaranteed to keep keep you full!

1. Add one whole banana to the blender, with one heaped tablespoon of uncooked oats.
2. Pour in 3-5 tablespoons of greek yogurt (can be substituted for almond milk).
3. Boil the kettle and add mix teaspoon of coffee with 1/4 cup of boiling water.
4. Throw the ingredients together and blend.
5. Add one small teaspoon of honey to taste.

Watch this video to see me make this smoothie!


Super Smoothie
Green eyed beauty

Before adding spirulina
Finished smoothie!


There’s a reason why green smoothies are so popular. Not only is it a great way of mixing together all your left over vegetables and reducing waste, but it will give you a big dose of your daily health kick! I like to add spirulina to this recipe, which is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.


1. Juice 3-4 handfuls of either spinach or kale. These will quickly wilt so it won’t produce as much juice as you think.
2. In your blender, add half an avocado with one whole frozen banana, pouring in your kale/spinach juice.
3. Add a splash of almond milk. Mix together.
4. Pour into a glass and add one teaspoon of spirulina powder to stir in until it is all dissolved. Voilá!

Very Berry
A berry so good with no soggy bottoms in sight

A sweet smoothie sure to quickly become a favourite

This is my OG smoothie and is one of the easiest to make! I wrote about acai berries on this post back in 2019, but if you are unfamiliar with it, the taste can be likened to a mix of blackberries and unsweetened chocolate. I also like to add chia seeds to this smoothie. Chia seeds are full of fibre, protein and can even help support weight loss. Both of these ingredients are very nutritious and are great antioxidants!

1. Simply throw in one banana, a handful of blueberries, strawberries, raspberry’s and a dash of coconut milk and blend.
2. Pour into a glass and add one teaspoon of acai berry powder, plus one teaspoon of chia seeds.
3. Stir well and enjoy!

Weekend Refresh
R&R in one sip

Before spirulina
After spirulina; A great afternoon pick-me-up drink!

For days that I’m feeling like switching things up I go for a kiwi based smoothie. Kiwis are full of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, and potassium. They are also another great antioxidant!

1. Add one banana, a handful of blueberries and 2-3 small peeled kiwis with a dash of coconut milk to your blender.
2. Blend together and pour the smoothie into a glass.
3. Add one teaspoon of spirulina powder (it’s very strong in taste but really balances out this smoothie!)
4. Serve and enjoy.

Exotic Blend
Summer in a jar

The perfect refreshing smoothie for a hot summer’s day!

1. Cut up a banana into slices and a mango into chunks ready to put in the freezer overnight.
2. The next day, juice one whole orange and add all of the ingredients into a blender.
3. Pour into your glass and enjoy in the sun!

Happy smoothie making!

If you enjoyed this blog post you should subscribe and check out the below:

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Opening Up| How I Began Exercising Consistently – 6 Month Fitness Update!

Sarah’s Day Fitness E-Books | Review

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Sarah’s Day Fitness E-Books | Review

If you read my Opening Up| How I Began Exercising Consistently – 6 Month Fitness Update! post, you will know that in January I began Sarah’s Day 8 Week Lifestyle challenge with her first e-book, Sweat It To Shred It. I enjoyed it so much, I then completed her follow up 8 week guide, Sweat It Reload. Following Sarah across her Instagram and YouTube over the last few years, I have always loved her passion and positivity, and felt inspired by her workouts. I could see through her vlogs just how much Sarah lives and breathes fitness into her lifestyle, and knew that this was something I wanted to introduce into my own life. In a world of influencers and many falsehoods, I appreciated her down to earth attitude and could relate to her motivation to train and to make a change in my own life, amongst my own motivators. I purchased these guides with the intention to help me get in the swing of regular exercise, and the hope it would slowly increase intensity, with just enough variety to avoid boredom that I previously had experienced. Ding, ding, ding! It did just that. In the introduction of her first guide, Sweat It To Shred It, she adds:


” I NOW WAKE UP EVERY MORNING EXCITED AND MOTIVATED TO TRAIN. NO MORE DREADING THE GYM, OR YOUR MORNING RUN. IT’S TIME TO MIX IT UP, HAVE FUN AND START SEEING RESULTS!”

And you know what, I absolutely felt the same way.

So, what was my fitness like at the start of the program? Prior to starting these challenges, I would rate myself as being on the lower-average fitness level for a woman of my age (25). I wasn’t terrible, but honestly my upper body strength was poor; I could barely do 1 ladies’ push up. I could run a mile on average in approximately 10.5 -11 minutes, with the odd fluke of a quicker time. I also enjoyed HIIT workouts in the past and was accustomed to Pilates every now again, however I hadn’t consistently stuck at exercising for a long time. My flexibility to start off with was also a challenge for me. So the fact these exercises were aimed to encourage flexibility development was a bonus. I had relatively strong abs but not much definition, and it (like most) was the main area I wanted to tone.

So how does it work? The workouts are designed to get you sweaty, active, to tone your body along with completing challenges and 15 min fat burners, proving that you that you don’t need to workout for 2 hours a day to get fit. These e-books are a mixture of resistance and circuit exercises, with a variety of training styles. Every 3 weeks, the guide cranks it up a notch. In the past, I would find myself plateauing after the 2-3 week mark or lost interest. So if like me, you suffer with boredom from exercises – this is the guide for you! Some moves weren’t too beginner friendly, or admittedly that easy to make out on the e-book. But it is clearly stated at the beginning of the first e-book to make adjustments to account for your own flexibility. In addition to this after a quick YouTube search it wasn’t rocket science to break down the move or to swap it out for an easier modification. If you haven’t followed Sarah or watched any of her videos, one thing you should know is that she is a big believer in, “Listening to your body”. If something hurts or is too difficult, stop and modify it. If she’s not feeling something, she’s honest about it and I have a lot of respect for that.

Did I do every workout? The first few weeks definitely ease you in, beginning with 3 days a week, plus optional challenges and activities like walking or swimming etc., to keep you interested and motivated. At the beginning, I went with how I was feeling and did skip some of the optional challenges and changed up the activities like beach run circuits to account for U.K. weather. But the intention was there, despite changing it up for a different workout that day. I was also conscientious to not overdo it or anger any old injuries. I was happy to try my hardest but to go at my own pace, learning from my past mistakes. The good thing is, you do not need a lot of room for these workouts. During the first 8 weeks no equipment is needed, apart from a yoga mat. In weeks 9-16, I swapped out some of the equipment needed in Sweat It Reload, such as using a chair instead of a bench. I luckily had some dumbbells to hand of differing weights, but you can get creative and lift what you have in the house (think tins, bottles of water, whatever you have!). Or if you want to be a bit more committed, order some free weights online. Some days I really didn’t feel like completing my workout, but I wanted to compete with myself and I was determined to push through. I did not skip any of the essential workouts (sweaty shredders/ toning powers/ circuits).

I’ll tell you one thing, I never regretted completing a workout.

What did I discover throughout the 16 weeks?

  • First and foremost, I obviously got so much stronger and fitter. Over time, some of those challenging moves (like ab kicks) got easier and those burpees I once so despised, were no longer so terrible. I could also easily and proudly do 10 proper push ups by the end of it!
  • I pushed myself harder but also looked forward to my rest days. Knowing that I was being consistent and more disciplined than ever helped me feel more motivated to not only get through the work day, but to complete my days of exercise for the week
  • I developed a lot more self-discipline
  • I felt proud, happier and calmer on days I exercised
  • I developed more of a love for athleisure and began relaxing in it (I never did this before!) I also bought some new “proper” workout clothing, swapping out my old miscellaneous t-shirt collection for new shorts and sports bras. This also helped for motivation!
  • Despite my prior protests, I “can” exercise at all times of the day; but my preference is between 9-11am
  • The program also helped me get fit in other ways. Although I had not done any running throughout the program, I could run a mile lot quicker and I also got noticeably more flexible
  • Did I lose weight? I typically don’t weigh myself regularly, but I did weigh myself once every 7-10 days to keep track. To be honest, I tended to fluctuate a kilo either side. However it is important to note that we all have different body types and I did not change my eating habits. My goal was not to lose weight, but to tone up, get stronger and more flexible. I’m sure if I changed my diet, I would have lost a couple of kilos. Nonetheless, I did noticeably tone up and I developed muscle definition that I hadn’t seen in years! My shoulders and arms got more lean and muscular. My love handles got smaller, both my quads and glutes were more defined. I’d call that an all round win, wouldn’t you?
  • I felt more confident in myself and overall my clothes did fit better
  • I began to see elements of my personality from when I was a kid again shine through. Although it’s natural to change as we grow up, I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed being active!
  • I gained a tremendous amount of respect for women who keep up an active lifestyle despite their challenges of work, familiy, disability etc. There are also a lot of positive women who are “influencers” like Sarah’s Day and Kayla Instines who want you to love your body, get stronger whilst putting your health and wellbeing first


Would I do it again? Absolutely! I began telling my friends about the workouts, particularly after being complimented on my toned up body, (I hadn’t seen anyone other than on video calls or my parents for 2 months in lockdown so I guess it was noticeable). Exercising consistently also has had a positive impact on my mental health, particularly over the pandemic the last few months.

Overall, I think the guide is a great way to kick start a healthier lifestyle and assist regular exercise to become a habit.

My final thoughts would be… Sarah, when is the next e-book for weeks 17 – 25 coming out?! In the meantime I will eagerly be awaiting her secret “cooking project” which is due to launch in August!

I hope you will subscribe if you enjoyed this blog post. If so, check out the below:

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Short Story

Tuesday 31st December 2019

8:17 PM

Kat was struggling to get into her Union Jack dress. She had just about managed to squeeze it over her shoulders but it had got stuck over her boobs, the more she wriggled the more she was convinced that any moment now she would hear a rip. “Just glide into it, nice and easy, like a caterpillar…” she told herself. She decided to take the dress off and start again. Maybe she could step into it? Nope that wasn’t going to work she thought. Now she was getting hot and flustered and started to panic. Taking a large gulp of her prosecco she instantly calmed down and went for round three. Arms up in the air and shimmy it down – that was the plan Kat decided on. The way her arms were up in the air resembled something more like one of those inflatable tube guys that move in the wind. The ones she had seen outside a DIY store. She began to wiggle her hips and made the noise she imagined it would make. It was something along the lines of a spooky ghost mixed with a grandmother hearing something vulgar, “Ooo-ooo!!”. Now this really made her chuckle. Gosh, why was this dress so much tighter than she remembered it to be? Kat had only worn it that Summer when she went to Glastonbury Festival and remembered feeling quite smug about how good she felt in it. A more prudent question was why did her housemate Olivia have to be so adamant that their New Year’s Eve party would be 90’s themed? Everyone else was going for the standard 1920’s theme considering they were entering the roaring 20’s. Because it was “unoriginal” that’s why, she heard Olivia’s voice say in her head. To be honest, Kat was slightly relieved she could recycle this costume rather than fork out for another outfit. Plus she knew the one she wanted would’ve easily set her back 100 quid.

8:19pm

One deep breath in and one last pull and Kat got it down. Hurrah, she rejoiced! Next thing she knew, Kat could suddenly breathe. Oh wait – that wasn’t a good sign was it? That meant she had now actually ripped it. Kat let out a groan and cursed the last Terry’s Chocolate Orange she had eaten.

“I don’t think it’s Terry’s fault” said a female voice muffling a laugh.

Ah! Sofia had come to her rescue, her kind friend pointed at the zip of the dress she had undone. She then handed Kat her badly made ginger wig and sat on the edge of Kat’s bed, popping open another bottle of prosecco.
“Thanks for that, Sof.” Kat gratefully replied, now moving closer to the mirror to carefully inspect every lump and bump on display. Damn it! So there was evidence of the 52 mince pies she had indulged in over Christmas. Ah well! She helped herself to an After Eight that was on the side. Kat could worry about that in the new year.

As much as she had protested that 2018 was her last year of the fancy dress New Years Eve party, obviously that plan had fallen through. Kat had been convinced that 2019 was the year she would be owning her first flat. But Kat was passed on being promoted at work and her company didn’t pay out bonus this year either, which meant that she was quite a bit short of her deposit. Well it was really the astronomical London rent, combined with weekends spent on brunches and clubbing, Glasto tickets and a girls holiday to Ibiza, which didn’t really help either. So in October Kat made the executive decision that 2020 would be her year. Yes, she would finally take the plunge and buy her first property. However in order to do so, it meant moving back home for a few months back to her parents home. She hadn’t lived at home since the Summer she graduated from uni. Choosing to live in the city with friends instead, discovering her own corner of London. Naturally her housemates were sad she would be moving out, however Kat was adamant that she would not let her social life take too much of a hit in 2020. She just had to be away from all of the temptation and needed to count her pennies. She needed to stop with all the spontaneous nights out so that by the Summer she would be in a brand new flat that was all hers.

Secretly Kat was quite excited about the prospect of moving home for the short term. She was now 26 and the only girl in the family; an older sister to her two younger brothers, but like her they had both moved out so that meant all the attention would be on her. She would be spending so much quality time with her parents and they would be doting on her left, right and centre. It would be like Christmas for a few months, Kat had convinced herself. She was sure that they were very excited about their little cherub moving back for a few months. It was like the story of the prodigal son returning home, except she hadn’t squandered her inheritance – instead she had been robbed by the London lifestyle (despite enjoying every moment of it). She just hoped that her Dad had forgotten about her getting too drunk at Christmas and when she told him what she really thought of his overcooked turkey. A week had nearly passed, he must have forgotten all about that by now, she reassured herself.

Kat was sad to leave her flat. She loved her housemates, they were sweet as could be, but truth be told she had enough of the cleaning rota Olivia had implemented. Olivia was very ambitious, organised and definitely the Mumma bear of the house. They had been friends since her first temp job out of uni, but now Kat was ready to be out in the world on her own. She planned to learn to cook, particularly meals that didn’t include ketchup as a main ingredient as she so often relied on. She planned to buy a place nearer to her parents and the country side but still with good transport links to commute into work. Hers would be a haven in contrast to the busy London city life. She turned to see Sofia staring at her, as if waiting for a response. Oh crap, she had zoned out and wasn’t listening to a word Sofia had said since prosecco.

“You look stunning by the way Sof, when’s Leo getting here, eh?” Kat winked at Sofia whilst readjusting her Ginger spice wig, hoping her blatant rudeness would be looked over.

“Never.” Sofia huffed.

Damn. There it was. The Latin fire that came out every so often from Sofia. The look on Sofia’s face said enough.

Kat had completely put her foot in it. Sofia was meant to be doing a couples costume with her now ex- boyfriend and had dressed as Rose from Titanic. Her natural olive complexion really complimented the red curly wig. Oh crap really, why did she say that? Kat regretted. Sofia had been heartbroken all Christmas. Her relationship pretty much came to an end at the start of the month when he had left her a voice note addressed to an Arabella, whom he seemed very excited to be spending Christmas with.

“He was just a bloody discount Hugh Grant if you ask me! Good riddance. You’ll have plenty of Leo’s lining up tonight.” She topped up Sofia’s glass and hoped this would help dig her out of the hole she had made. It seemed it did. She knew that Hugh Grant quip would make her smile.

“Hey girls! Can you put on the New Years playlist on please? People will be here soon!” Olivia called. She poked her head around Kat’s bedroom door stirring some homemade guacamole and had a big smile on her face. Olivia had dressed up as Cher from Clueless and of course nailed it.

“Ay ay captain!” Kat stomped her foot lightly on the ground and raised her hand to her head in salute before quickly looking down to check if her dress had split. So far, so good.

9:45PM

The house was buzzing, drinks were flowing and Kat had entered into an intense game of beer pong vs Johnny Bravo, Ace Ventura and Austin Powers. She may have been a few drinks in at this point but to her surprise, her aim had actually gotten better. Despite it still being early in the night, at the corner of her eye she saw some kind of dance off breaking out between the Mario Gang and the Power Rangers. Evidently the welcome shots went down well. Looking around she had to admit, Olivia had done a pretty good job in organizing it all and everyone had made a real effort.

“Drink Scary Spice!” yelled Ace Ventura as the ping pong ball ended up in her cup.

“It’s Ginger you idiot”, she retorted back pointing at the wig with her left hand, necking the drink with her right hand.

“Oh no I think it’s definitely scary with a temper like that.”

“Ah alright then Mr Ventura, let’s say loser has to break out the tequila.”

“Challenge accepted.”

To be honest Kat enjoyed this flirty banter, particularly as Ace wasn’t too bad to look at. Well the actual guy – James, wasn’t. Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura on the other hand gave her the creeps. Up until now Kat had given up on dating in London since her last Hinge date. Every guy she had met was either in his early 20’s just looking to party or way too intense.

“Regretting that challenge now, Kat?” Ace smugly asked, as the ball landed in her cup again.

10:32PM

Kat had gone to the loo with Cher aka Liv, to freshen up and have a girly catch up on how the party was going. Liv was delighted how well her canape’s had gone down and revealed that she had bought a secret stash of Champagne that she was saving for countdown. Kat was really going to miss her thoughtfulness. Olivia carefully reapplied her lipstick and doused herself in some more perfume. Kat on the other hand was staring at herself in the mirror with the sudden realization that she was very drunk. Now she had to do her best to try and appear sober otherwise she would never hear the end of getting drunk this early on in the night.

“Mmmm Moooet?” Kat mumbled whilst nearly stumbling out of her platform heels. “Sounds laaavley, my laaavley Liv Liv Liv Liv! Did you know how fun your name is to say, who knew?” Kat readjusted her wig and then very seriously looked at Olivia.

“Olivia, how come you never see elephants hiding in trees?”

“Er, come again Kat?” Liv let out a laugh.

“Just answer, it’s funny. I swear!”

“Ok, Kat. I don’t know, how come you never see elephants hiding in trees?”

Kat leaned foward and whispered, unaware of just how strong her breath stank of tequila whilst tapping her nose with her index finger, “Because they’re very, very good at it.” Kat erupted into a belly aching laughter.

“Yeah that’s not that funny Kat.”

“Aww what! I got it in my Christimas cracker this year!”

“Mmm okay, Kat.” Olivia responded unconvinced subtly placing a mint in Kat’s mouth. Ah, now she really was going to miss living here.

11:58PM

Kat had summoned the group to collect their party poppers whilst Sofia and Olivia handed out the glasses of champagne. Kat should’ve really been a rep in Ibiza, look how entertained everyone was she thought to herself.

11:59 PM

Kat scouted the room for Ace to see if he wanted a quick good luck kiss at midnight. But Britney Spears had already made her move. What a disaster that relationship would be.

12:00 AM


“3!

2!

1!

Happy New Year!” They all chanted with joy. Olivia and Sofia pulled Kat in close and klinked their glasses before getting ready to sing Auld Lang’s Syne.

2:00 AM (or there abouts)

Two miscellaneous hours had passed by with a lot of dancing and drinking. Kat was still standing, despite the amount of tequila she had drank. Technically Kat was sat not standing, in the living room with her heels kicked off which were now replaced with her cozy slippers she received for Christmas instead. Ah, the perks of hosting from home. She noticed a slightly tipsy Olivia already going around with a black bin liner collecting the empty bottles. Maybe she could employ Olivia on Friday nights to clean her new flat when she finally moved out to the country side? Surely she would be able to afford a huge house with acres of land and a maid, with all the money she would be saving not paying London rent. She was about to propose the idea to Olivia when Last Christmas came on and a foghorn type noise that sounded a lot like, “GEEOOORGEEE!!!” came out of Kat’s mouth instead. It was going to be the last time for a while she could listen to Christmas songs without being judged so she figured she could ask Olivia later.

2:01 AM

Austin Powers had put on “Despacito” in a desperate bid to impress Sofia. Kat was not happy. In fact she was so livid, she accidentally swiped his vodka and replenished her own alcohol stash in the kitchen.

3:30 AM

Kat was the last one awake out of her, Sofia and Olivia. By now there were only a few guests left: Princess Peach, Buzz Lightyear and Forrest Gump. They had sang the whole of Queen’s Best Hits Soundtrack, re-enacting Bohemian Rhaposody in perfect harmony (at least Kat thought so much through her tequila tinted goggles) and now they had turned to card games.

“Hey Kat”, murmured Buzz, “Ben is trying to get into TV, don’t you work as an agent?”

Kat may have slightly embellished her job a little. It couldn’t hurt she thought as most of these people were Olivia’s friends and all far too drunk to remember. Plus working in HR didn’t really have the pizzazz she wanted and she knew that 2020 would be the year she would break into the industry, so what’s the harm in a head start?

“Yesss darling”, she slurred in her best Joanna Lumely impression which really just sounded like a turtle having a stroke.

“Let me tell you all about how we do it in show biz!”

4:05 AM

Buzz definitely had bought her career advice and the story of how she had just scouted the next big thing who would be appearing in the Eastenders New Year’s Special. Luckily she had sensed that Buzz was too much of a snob to use his RADA education on a soap and Kat’s knowledge of the show was so advanced, she could practically go on Mastermind. Maybe she should enter The Chase this year? Heck, maybe she could present the chase! She typed “Chase – Bradley off” with a bunch of light bulb emojis into her phone notes, before she realized someone was talking to her. It was Buzz again. But this time it seemed like that last round of ring of fire had really taken a turn.

“I’ve been thinking all night about something and it’s really been bothering me.”

Oh no had she said something offensive? Was she caught out on her lie? Kat’s mind scanned the possibilities.

“What’s up Buzz?” She tried to say in her most sober and nonchalant tone. Buzz looked at her with a sad gaze and clasped both of Kat’s hands.

“What do you think is the morality behind killing slugs, because I’ve accidentally stepped on at least 3 tonight and I don’t know how to feel.”

“Right time to go to bed everyone!” She yawned in an exaggerated manner, turning all the lights on signalling it was definitely time to go home.


Wednesday 1st January 2020

07:45 AM

Kat shot out of bed to the sound of pots clanging and what sounded like the whole of Gloria Delgago-Pritchett’s family dancing in high heels in her kitchen. Ow! Her head was banging, her tongue felt like sandpaper and she was sure that whoever that was making that racket, they would soon be wishing they hadn’t crossed her. Tumbling out of bed still half asleep with yesterday’s make-up on, Kat stubbed her toe on the edge of her bed.

“Oh gaaaaaa, fuuu—!!” Kat inhaled deeply clutching her big toe whilst hopping on her right leg like a chicken. Although the superking size bed seemed like a good idea at the time of buying it three years ago, frankly Kat was surprised she had any toenails left at this point.

“Dehh -spahhh – cito…
Quiero respirar tu cuello despacito…”

Wasn’t it an unspoken role that the week between Christmas and at least mid January, was meant to be spent in a state of permanent drunkness, not too sure what day of the week it was? And you only got out of bed at midday at the earliest, eating yesterday’s leftover pringles washed down with a Bucks Fizz for breakfast? And what was that smell wafting through the flat? Eggs? Today Kat was not feeling too polite, not on the account of her banging head.

“Olivia, what on earth? – “

She walked into the kitchen to see Olivia twisting her hips with Austin Power’s glasses on. Her and Sofia were both in their workout gear clearly having just returned from a run. Olivia couldn’t hold a tune but it was a hilarious impression of the rendition Sofia had received from Austin last night.

“Ok Google, volume up!” Olivia excitedly shouted at the speaker, “Deja que te diga cosas al oído…”

Sofia saved Liv from Kat’s wrath sneakily turning down the speaker and saying, “Alright girls, final breakfast together as a team!”

1st January and it meant it was time to say goodbye to her little London flat. Olivia’s sister was taking over Kat’s tenancy as she would be preparing to go home and really start her adult life. Olivia had cooked Eggs Benedict served with a strong cuppa before asking the dreaded million pound question.

“Right ladies what are your New Year resolutions for 2020 then?”

“Oh just wait a second, hair of the dog at least Liv!” Kat searched through the cupboards to see if there was any alcohol leftover. Her eyes lit up as she found a mysterious bottle of vodka in her cupboard. Where did that come from she wondered? “Bloody Mary anyone?”

Sofia began listing hers off which included learning to drive and to quit smoking. Olivia’s was to run the London marathon in under 4 hours, to travel to Australia and to take the first step in setting up her own fashion brand. Olivia was a big time Fashion buyer and micro influencer with a social media following of 65,000. Kat wondered just how many likes Olivia’s latest Instagram post from last night had racked up.

Kat? Well Kat started off with her biggest one, moving out and buying her own flat followed by the usual; exercise more, to grow her hair and be more spontaneous! Overall she just wanted to save more money to move out.

“Spontaneous eh, Kat? Are you going to dye your hair pink and present The Chase then?” What was Sofia on about? She had deja vu, but admitted she wouldn’t mind doing either of those things.

“Yes absolutely! It’s on the list. Here’s to The Chase and to 2020!” Sofia and Kat tapped their glasses in celebration, but Olivia remained quiet. Olivia was rarely quiet so this concerned Kat.

“I was meant to be going to China with work to source some fabrics in a few weeks, but have you seen this?” she asked.

“Some kind of flu going round in China?” She showed them an article a colleague from work sent her on her phone.

“Ah don’t worry about that! Not like it’s the Spanish influenza” Sofia said trying to cheer her up.

“Yes don’t worry Liv!” Kat agreed, “2020 is our year. You’ll have your successful fashion brand, Sof will practically be driving formula 1 and I’ll be in my posh flat soon enough. I’ll be throwing soirees and cooking you all breakfast.” To that they cheered and chatted some more on the events of last night, before taking a much needed nap. Kat needed to sober up before her brother arrived to pick her up and help him pack up the car. It was going to be so great hanging out with her little bro for a while. Just like old times. Only a few months and she would be sorted, she repeated in her head before slowly dozing off.

I hope you enjoyed reading this short story! If you did, make sure to comment and subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Feel free to check out the below too!

Opening Up| How I Began Exercising Consistently – 6 Month Fitness Update!

Summer Body Skincare

Kardashian Hair? |Andrew Fitzsimon X Primark

This Week’s Blogging Challenge! | June 22 – 28th

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Opening Up| How I Began Exercising Consistently – 6 Month Fitness Update!

In January 2020 I set myself the challenge of getting back into fitness, shaping up and living a more active lifestyle. To sum it up with one word, my workouts up until this point were inconsistent. In my childhood and teenage years I had always loved being active. I played everything from football to cricket and competed in Athletic competitions, and I loved every single second of it! (I even somehow got scouted for Crystal Palace F.C.) As I joined the world of work, I began to learn and appreciate the benefits from exercise on my mental health. It relieved stress after a busy day of work and in that 30 minutes alone I would find complete stillness and peace of my mind. The pressures and challenges I encountered that day were all of a sudden a distant memory. However, there had always been an issue – I hadn’t found my groove. (Side note – Define groove as according to Urban Dictionary: a verb meaning to smoothly interact, maintain or improve relations with business associates, a person, or a situation). My workouts were either always too repetitive and boring or too challenging and off-putting. There was no real structure or guidance of where to go after those first few sessions. I mostly trained as means to an end and thought of exercise only in the short term, this basically being for aesthetic reasons to slim down or tone up before a holiday, a wedding or a party etc. I had no real, sustainable incentive or intrinsic motivation to make me want to exercise. There was, as I say, a lack of groove!

I had never been a huge gym-goer, preferring home workouts, the odd gym class, or run instead. I liked my workouts to be convenient, time efficient and resented having to hold myself accountable for letting my gym membership fee go to waste. I would typically go through a couple of months (most likely timed before the aforementioned holiday) where I would attend workout classes feeling like a boss because I managed 3-4 days that week. Only for this hard work to soon be diminished, as I’d then break the routine for several reasons (and excuses). Maybe I had over-trained and overdone it with the weights at the start of the week, which would leave me sore and unmotivated to ever look or think about lifting a weight ever again. Perhaps I had a bad night’s sleep and the dreary Winter months were just too depressing and cold to take myself for a run. Or it could have been that all the classes were over capacity and I was going out after work. Then there was the classic, “I am too busy”. Truth be told, the majority of my actual thought process went a little something like this…

I could not be bothered to do any exercise because then I would have to wash my hair and that is simply just too much effort. In the meantime I would probably embarrass myself in front of a large group of people, as I displayed my uncoordinated self. My arms and legs always somehow manage to move in different directions! I’ve had actual fitness instructors and some of my pals laugh in amazement, at my interpretation of moves. Then there is the pressure of what or what not to wear. I would inevitably turn up in my not so chic or highly unflattering workout gear which displays all my sweat (which then also would need a wash!) Plus I’ve already gone on holiday this year, so can’t I just stock my body up for Winter now?!!!

So that’s just what I would do.

Then rolled in January 2020 and with it, so did the New Year resolutions. By this time I had shifted my perspective towards exercise and what I wanted from it. Sure, I still wanted to trim up and for my jeans to fit a bit better after Christmas, but recent family health matters had reminded me how important my actual health was over vanity. There was also this pandemic I had heard about and I thought there is no time like the present to look after myself better. I also knew from past workouts, the power exercise had to “reset”my mind. How it can completely change my attitude to the day. The idea of what I could achieve was also very appealing… maybe my fastest 5k yet to date or perhaps I would finally attempt that 10k I was always too scared to try? If I followed the right workout and did something I enjoyed, maybe I would stick to it consistently. All in all, I was set and clear on what my motive was. I wanted to feel healthier, fitter and begin to live a sustainably active lifestyle.

With step one being complete (establishing my new exercise intentions), I needed to action step two… which workout plan I would commit to! Having not stuck with purely running or YouTube workout based videos in the past, I decided an e-book or fitness app would give me the kick start I needed. Lo and behold, Sarah’s Day a holistic health & fitness YouTuber that I had followed for the last 2 years or so, had a sale on her 8 week fitness guide e-books, Sweat It To Shred It & Sweat It Reload. As an even bigger incentive, all the proceeds were being donated to the bush fires in Australia. At £22 per book, that worked out to only £2.75 a week – a cheap cost for something I was determined to stick to (and didn’t have to leave my house or pay a hefty fee to participate!).

Now fast forward to June 2020, I am by no means a fitness expert, but the 16 week guide gave me the push and motivation to be consistent in my training. Here I am 6 (nearly 7) months later since I set on being more active and I feel better than ever! Despite the challenges that came with the pandemic, the lockdown actually really assisted me in finding time in my day to exercise. So how am I doing and feeling? Well, I genuinely look forward to each workout; I even slowly built up into now training 6 days a week! My workouts are habitual and mostly take place in the morning. This helps me feel like I’ve achieved something and leaves me feel motivated, recharged and ready to tackle the day ahead, as I continue to work from home for the foreseeable. After completing the 16 week guide, I mixed in some 5K runs and can actually confidently say I can do several push ups! I have now moved onto Shaun T’s Insanity Workout which I am also loving, although I’ve never sweated so much in my life!

Want to hear my review on Sarah’s Day E-books? Stay tuned for Thursday’s blog post!

If you enjoyed reading this blog post, make sure you subscribe to keep up to date with what I am talking about and have a little read of the below:

Summer Body Skincare

Working From Home Tips | Mental Health Awareness Week

30 Lessons I Learned As a Brit in America

A Weekend in Costa Del Sol

This Week’s Blogging Challenge! | June 22 – 28th

If you haven’t already, make sure you check out the below posts!

Summer Body Skincare

Kardashian Hair?

30 Lessons I Learned As a Brit in America

Insanity Workout & Smoothie – Vlog!

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Summer Body Skincare

Before you can finish asking the question, “Who’s ready for Pimms?”, it’s already June and here we are in Summer. This Spring was the hottest season in the UK on record, which left me reaching for my favourite pair of denim shorts in lockdown, rather than on a beach somewhere far, far away. There are so many reasons why I love the warmer weather, but there is also a lot of maintenance that goes on behind the scenes to prepare for it. Whether you consider some of the below as an already essential step to your skincare, or you are just looking for some tips between us friends, below I’m sharing with you 5 new habits you can add to your body skincare routine for Summer.

1. Body brushing

The Body Shop, Body Brush

Said to help increase bloodflow, circulation and reducing the appearance of cellulite alongside exercise, I’ve been dry brushing my body twice a week before I shower, followed by moisturizing. Holding firmly, gently brush your skin upwards in small strokes, towards your heart. I then use the brush in circular motions for those stubborn areas. Similar brush linked here on Amazon.

2. Exfoliating

Baxter of California’s Exfoliating Body Bar

Whether you want to prepare for your next round of fake tan application or avoid those pesky ingrown hairs, exfoliating your body will leave you with silky soft skin. This means you can use in the shower meaning it can also easily become a habitual practice, whilst being more eco-friendly. With so many products on the market my favourite are soaps. I’ve tried the natural deodorants from Baxter of California so took a chance on this product too and it did not disappoint!

3. Hair removal

Phillips Lumea Prestige

With our Summer travel plans looking to be drastically different this year and salons currently closed for the visit to the waxing lady, all is not lost. I’ve been using the Phillips Lumea Prestige to help slow down hair growth in between salon visits. (Stay tuned for a full review soon…)

4. Dark spot corrector

Revolution Dark Spot Corrector

Whether it’s freckles, dark spots or discoloration from acne etc, I give you this the miracle serum. After 3 uses in a week I could already see a difference. Tell everyone about this! On offer now (ends today) at Boots for £6.67 rather than it’s normal price of £10!

5. SPF

Mimitika Face Suncream

The skin on our face is much more delicate than the rest of our body, so I’ve been ensuring I apply a face suncream particularly during the U.K. heatwave! I am conscious to protect my skin from premature aging, prevent burning and importantly protect my face (& body) from skin cancer. With so many brands to choose from, this is a vital step that should not be missed. I’ve been using Mimitika which I discovered through my Birchbox prescription a while ago. This suncream sits on the face lightly without any oily residue and is on offer now for £14 rather than it’s usual £20!

What steps have you been adding to your Summer body skincare routine? Let me know below!

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Kardashian Hair? |Andrew Fitzsimon X Primark

6 Week America Road Trip in 3 Minutes!

30 Lessons I Learned As a Brit in America

Kardashian Hair? |Andrew Fitzsimon X Primark

Earlier this year Andrew Fitzsimon, hair stylist to the most debated interesting Kardashian to look at, released his very own collaboration with Primark. That’s right, Andrew may have Kourtney K, one of the world’s most famous celebrities as a client and a pal, but he was thinking of the everygirl when he released this range with Primarni, A.K.A., Primark! With killer prices, a hair accessory and essential to cover your every beauty need, how does the AF range actually stack up?

Let’s start with the basics:

Where?
Available in Primark in the U.K. you can buy his hair accessories online, but most of the products can only be bought in store. Luckily, I purchased mine back in March (pre-lockdown) in the Primark flagship store on Tottenham Court Road, London.

Products
There is an abundance to choose from, but Andrew has released a large selection of the following, complete with his iconic AF branding:

  • Shampoos
  • Conditioners
  • Hair Mask
  • Hair Oil
  • Glam Styling Spray (Heat protector)
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Texture Spray
  • Bounce Spray (Hairspray)
  • Silk Hair Ties & Scrunchies
  • Flat (No mark) Clips and Hair Claws
  • Flat Paddle Brush
  • Blowdry Brush
  • Rail Comb
  • Hairdryer
  • Hair Curler
  • Make-Up Bag
  • Eye Mask

Range

  • Shine
  • Volume
  • Nourish

Price

  • Hair accessories = £2-3
  • Sprays = £2.50
  • Shampoos = £3.50
  • Hair oil = £3.50

100684991_1133728900312465_3871328279021486080_nFirst things first, I love how aesthetically pleasing each product in the range is! If I had it my way, I would have bought them all to try. Alas, I am confined to a mere drawer of hair accessories and tools, so I decided to sample only a few. As pictured above, I bought the Shine range, Luxe Hair Oil, 3 of the sprays, satin scrunchies and blowdry brush.

Since purchasing the AF range, I’ve now used the Shine range a handful of times. First and foremost, I just adore how the shampoo, conditioner and mask each make my hair smell incredible and in turn, how it makes me feel a million bucks! And importantly, as you can see in this first impressions video, there actually is some noticeable shine to my hair; a result that is usually only obtained at hair salons.

However, I do feel the products slightly disappointed me on hair softness. If I compare this range to my typical go-to affordable hair brand TRESemmé, or to my favourite splurge buy, Kerastasé, my hair was noticeably less soft. Usually, I don’t need to use hair oil after I wash my hair, but I feel it’s more of a necessity with this range. I’d recommend to generously apply the Luxe Hair Oil on your hair when both wet and dry, to get that super soft feeling. On the flip side, you could also use a lot more conditioner or leave the hair mask on your hair for longer, to try and obtain your desired softness.

A big plus for me, is that so far none of the products have contributed to any colour build up – a common issue for blonde/dyed hair. In addition to this, the Luxe Hair Oil hasn’t tinted my hair with brassy tones either, an unwanted result I have noticed with other common drugstore brands. So, how do I rate the products I tried overall?

98884451_291939498487568_4991257395343654912_n

Shampoo, Conditioner & Mask = 3.5/5
Although my hair lasted 3 days before it needed washing again with workouts in between, other brands that are on par with price, have left my hair feeling softer.

Hair Oil = 4/5
I’d recommend using at least 2-3 pumps of this oil on both wet and dry hair. If you massage it into your hair as suggested you will reap the benefits!

Hair Ties =3/5
These are really cute and I wear them on a daily basis even when I exercise, and I can confirm that my hair did not slip/fall out… even on those jump lunges! I also haven’t had any battles trying to detangle my hair from the bands. However, I was disappointed with the finished quality on the larger hair scrunchies which had loose threads.

Blowdry brush = 4.5/5
No complaints here! This brush is really sturdy and comfortable to hold whilst I style my hair, and the bristles didn’t pull or frizz my hair whilst drying.

Smell & Appearance = 5/5
Again I cannot emphasize just how much I love the sweet, fruity scent of these products!

Price = 4.5/5
This range is so affordable that I almost gave it a 5/5, however I certainly wouldn’t begrudge paying a tiny bit more if it meant the products were finished to a slightly higher standard.

What would I buy again?
I have found it difficult to find a Texture spray that my hair likes, but this one does the trick. The Glam Styling spray gave me movie star vibes and I actually really like the hair oil and think it’s good value for money!

Overall rating = 4*!
Although the quality could be better for certain products, considering how affordable the whole range is, I think it’s a bargain. If you’re on a budget but fancy a small splurge, I recommend you give the AF range a go.

Have you tried any of the AF X Primark products? What did you think?

If you want me to review any other products, let me know in the comments below!

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Blog Posts
Lockdown | A Day In My Life In 10 photos
One Month In Lockdown
Touching the Surface of Amsterdam

Videos
AF X Primark | First Impressions Video
AF X Primark (Part 2) | How I Curl My Hair Video
Travel Vlog | Dublin

6 Week America Road Trip in 3 Minutes!

The world of travel may be different as we know it, but to satisfy those blues check out my America road trip recap on my YouTube channel!

Enjoyed this video? Make sure you subscribe, like and comment!

Make sure you read the below posts too:

The California Travel Diaries | Welcome to San Francisco

30 Lessons I Learned As a Brit in America

A New York Minute | Day 38 – 44

30 Lessons I Learned As a Brit in America

Being a Brit in the USA can have it’s perks. It’s easy to strike up conversation, as people seem to instantly like you for your “cute” accent. However, it can also be quite interesting to be a Brit in the USA for other reasons. Here is a list of things that I wish someone had told me before I visited America for the first time, as well as some of the downright obvious differences between the two!

Everyday Life

  • Everything is back to front. The doors lock on the opposite way to the U.K. This is a good reminder if you’re fumbling at the door with your keys at 2am whilst slightly inebriated…
  • Washing machines are not in the kitchen, but are in a separate room
  • Only the minority of people hang their washing outside (at least in California). This was very surprising considering California is one of the hottest states, yet everyone uses tumble dryers – even in the Summer. In comparison, there are us Brits who run outside when it’s raining to collect the washing from the line, come Winter or Summer!
  • All cash looks deceivingly similar. Just use your Monzo or Starling card to save the hassle for larger purchases, and save your dollar bills for tipping
  • TV adverts come on (what feels like) every 5 minutes in America
  • Farmer’s Markets are a great way to support local businesses, save money and have an enjoyable evening out
  • Kettles just aren’t a thing in the USA
  • Plug outlets don’t have on and off switches, unlike the U.K.
  • Marijuana is legal in some states
  • Even me (a very positive and optimistic person), fairs slightly cynical in comparison to my American counterparts
  • Despite the same language, the lingo is quite different. My brother’s wife (an American herself), sent me this message me before we travelled and I’m glad she did!
img_5147

Driving

  • To rent a car you typically need to be at least 25. If you are younger than this, expect to pay heftier prices!
  • In the U.K. you drive on the left hand side of the road, vs in the States you drive on the right hand side. I did have one scary but short incident, where we accidentally drove on the wrong side of the road. Luckily (or not as it may be) it was dark and there were no other cars around
  • You can turn right on a red light
  • Everyone pretty much drives an automatic car in America vs. “stick” (manual) which Brits learn to drive on!
  • When filling up petrol, prepay first with your card or go into the petrol station and say how many dollars worth, you want to fill up your tank. Proceed to fill up your car’s tank, clicking the button to hold up the pump. If you filled up less than you paid for, go back into the store and collect the change
  • Some streets have cleaning days; remember to read the signs and move your car if necessary to not get fined
  • Read the parking signs everywhere and double check with passers by so your car doesn’t get towed…! (3 guesses what happened to me)
  • You don’t pay for parking in shopping malls unlike the U.K.

Tipping

  • In the U.K. a standard tip is 10% for your meal. Although, I was aware that tipping is a big part of hospitality culture, I learned that (roughly) you should tip 15%= good service, 18% = great service and 20% = excellent service
  • Tip a dollar per beer, but more if you’re ordering (a complex to make) cocktail, like a Mojito
  • What I didn’t know is how to tip. For anyone who hasn’t been to America I’ll state what seems obvious to Americans. If paying by card, when the waiter comes out to collect payment, don’t input your card pin straight away. The restaurant/bar will scan your card first, The waiter will return with a receipt for you to write down how much you are paying plus the tip. The tip will be collected from your account at a later date. In the U.K. just add your tip at the end of the meal either by cash or card, and it will be taken at the same time!

Going Out

  • Baseball fans of opposing teams sit all mixed together in the stadium, rather than on separate sides like they do in the U.K for football matches
  • (As a tourist) if you wish to buy an alcoholic drink at any baseball game etc., take your passport with you. Without it you won’t be served even if you have another form of identification, such as your driving license
  • You need to ask for “ice water”, if you would like some water with ice
  • Expect to pay more at the end of your meal, as tax is added on afterwards
  • The National Parks are huge and amazing! Plan to spend extra time to really explore these beauty spots
  • Be safe and ask for recommendations from locals or hospitality staff, on which areas or streets to avoid on your travels
  • Buy travel insurance to cover any medical costs – unlike the wonderful NHS, health insurance is essential in America
  • There is and never will be an establishment that compares to a British pub!

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Insanity Workout & Smoothie – Vlog!

Check out my latest vlog and follow me in a week in my life!

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Working From Home Tips | Mental Health Awareness Week

You may be aware that last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, with this year’s theme concentrating on kindness. Mental health is not an easy topic to approach, but I really wanted to get involved and join the conversation – despite this late upload! Mark Rowland (Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation) shared an anecdote of just how powerful the simple act of kindness is, particularly in today’s circumstances. He recalled how whilst he was waiting in line to enter a supermarket, “One of the staff noticed we were getting wet. He scurried away to find a pile of umbrellas, carefully disinfected the handles and passed them out with a smile. To my surprise, my eyes started to well up. At a time when I felt alone, I suddenly felt connected”. This story really resonated with me and reminded me of a moment I had earlier last week. I woke up on Monday morning momentarily feeling disheartened at the challenge of getting through another week. Another week, working from home, not being able to go out and see family and friends. Yet again. Working as a Recruitment Coordinator, I really enjoy meeting new people and having a direct impact on the candidate experience. I miss not physically seeing any new, as well as the regular faces around the office! It was 8am and I was sat by my desk in my bedroom, drinking a cup of tea. I was checking my work messages from colleagues based in America and Asia, to see if they could support with some upcoming interviews. Over the weekend, they had come back promptly, apologizing for the delay and gladly expressing their support, as well as their gratefulness to me for getting these organized so quickly. At this moment, I found my eyes welling up. I felt really moved by this simple thank you and the mountain that was the week ahead, suddenly felt easier to climb.

I tend to get a lot of my energy from being around people and so have often found it quite difficult having limited social contact during lockdown. Some days I experience brain fog, lack of concentration, and some days I am just caught in the motions. I have beaten myself up for not using every waking moment of this time to be my most productive, creative or <insert your own superlarative!> self. If I’m honest, I’ve been so up and down I could be my own roller-coaster. However I’ve been trying my best to be open and transparent about these feelings; acknowledging them, riding them out, sharing them and it turns out I am not alone. And you know what? The saying, “A problem shared, is a problem halved” is really true.

It may be the start of another week, but I hope you make some time today to check in with yourself and acknowledge whatever it is you may be dealing with. No matter what battle or challenge you may be facing, particularly during this pandemic, your feelings matter. Ignore the small voice in your head that tells you that person x has it “worse” or “harder” than you. Your challenges are yours alone and the intensity of them may be heightened during this very abnormal time. Give yourself the love and kindness you deserve and would give to others.

If you are in need of a bit of self-kindness, I thought I’d share just a few of the things I’ve been doing more regularly, that have been helping me cope over the last 10 weeks and look after my own mental health:

  • Goals; I jot down daily/weekly goals that are achievable. Simple things like reading for 20 minutes or painting my nails have been on this week’s list. This helps find a sense of direction for the day
  • Go outdoors; Whether it’s for a walk in your neighbourhood, in a park or even just sitting in the garden! Going outside really lifts my mood and helps clear away some of that brain fog
  • Listening to podcasts or the radio; I miss physically socializing and podcasts are great to help you feel like you are a part of a conversation and keeping you engaged
  • Read; One of my best friends bought me the book, Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and it has been really beneficial in changing my perspective and regaining some positivity – I’d highly recommend this book for anyone who likes a bit of Psychology mixed with Self-Help
  • Exercise; I’ve been prioritizing my physical health this year and have been making time to exercise more regularly. I have chosen to do workouts that I enjoy and thus am more likely to do again. I haven’t worried about how “easy” or “hard” they are, or personal bests etc. Instead, I’ve been focusing on how they make my feel and it’s the first time in a long while I have stuck to exercise regularly and have definitely noticed results!
  • Challenges; Pre-covid life, the freedom of choice, trying and experiencing new things and places was plentiful. Some days, lockdown has been exhausting as it can seem like one day merges into one. Therefore to establish some differentiation (like my life pre-covid had), I’m trying to initiate new challenges for myself, such as taking time to bake or cooking new meals. Last week I cooked a chicken katsu curry for the first time!
  • Talking; Making time to Facetime friends, family and even co-workers just for a chat like I would have done in the office has helped cheer me up. On the flip side, I know how meaningful these check-ins have been for them too
  • Alone time; Importantly, I’ve also really enjoyed spending time with me! The pandemic has removed a lot of noise and distraction, that my life used to have and has forced me to spend more time on my own more than ever. Yes, it’s cliché but I’m getting to know myself and am identifying the things I both want to and don’t want to do in the future

Although there are days I can be self-critical I try to recognize this behaviour, flip my perspective and be kind to myself instead. According to the MHF, “Kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging… it reduces stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Kindness to ourselves can prevent shame from corroding our sense of identity and help boost our self-esteem”.

I hope that you are each looking after yourselves the best way you can and that you make a special effort to be kind to yourself.

#KindnessMatters 

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and will subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about!

Make sure you check out the below if you enjoyed this read:

Lockdown | A Day In My Life In 10 photos

Kindness Doesn’t Cost A Thing

20 Things That Made Me Smile In March

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Check out my Instagram!

Travel Vlog | New York

In the Summer of 2018 I visited California and New York. I visited New York for the first time whilst on a budget and I still had a great time! Have a watch if you want to see what I got up to and all of the amazing pizza I ate! I’d love for you to show it some love…!

If you enjoyed this video you should subscribe to my YouTube to keep up to date with what I’m talking about and check out the below:

A New York Minute | Day 38 – 44

AF X Primark (Part 2)| How I Curl My Hair

Attention all my fellow lovely readers! It’s me back at my news desk (apparently!) to inform you that your weekly video is up to let your minds wander for a moment, to a place far away from our daily 5pm broadcasts. Maybe you need some self care, just want to get dressed up or try curling your other half’s inevitable long lockdown hair (no judgement here!) Well you’re in luck! A really short how I curl my hair video using Andrew Fitzsimon’s hair products is up on my YouTube channel! Make sure you check it out to see how I get these loose beach waves in less than 10 mins…

If you enjoyed this video you should subscribe to my YouTube to keep up to date with what I’m talking about and check out the below:

Videos
AF X Primark | Product Review
Stay At Home Vlog
London to New York | Vlog 1

Blog Posts
Lockdown | A Day In My Life In 10 photos
One Month In Lockdown
20 Things That Made Me Smile In March

AF X PRIMARK |Hair Review – Video

Happy Tuesday! Today I am sharing with you my latest video reviewing Andrew Fitzsimon’s latest hair collaboration with Primark.

Check out my video to see if it’s worth your hard earned money…

If you enjoyed this video you should subscribe to my YouTube to keep up to date with what I’m talking about!

Stay At Home | Vlog

It may feel like one day is merging into the next you are not alone, I’ve definitely been finding it hard to keep track of the days!

Watch my first quarantine vlog and hae a sneak peak of what I’ve been getting up to in a week working from home. Spoiler alert… if you like baking and long country walks you’re in luck!

If you enjoyed this video you should subscribe to my YouTube and to my blog to keep up to date with what I’m talking about!

Make sure to check out the below too:

Lockdown | A Day In My Life In 10 photos

One Month In Lockdown

20 Things That Made Me Smile In March

 

Lockdown | A Day In My Life In 10 photos

As we each learn to adapt to our “new normal”, I thought I’d share with you my newest day to day routine that I have adopted over the last 8 weeks. Although life has become a lot more remote, in many ways I am a lot more connected to my friends and family; something so important to keep us going and staying positive during lockdown. Today I am sharing with you just some of the things that I get up to in a “typical” day in just 10 photos.

1. Morning Routine

I am lucky that my job allows me to continue to work from home.  I still “begin” my work day at 8:00 AM, but take advantage of the extra sleep, waking up between 7:00 – 7:45 AM (typically the latter), rather than my usual 6:30 AM wake-up call. After this extra lie in, I often shower first thing in the morning to help get my day started.

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2. I always make sure I change into clothes that aren’t pyjamas, particularly as a lot of my day is spent on video calls. Some days I choose jeans so that I am more in “work mode” (or just sensor checking these still fit),  but I mostly like to keep it comfy with either a pair of joggers or some activewear.

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3. A staple in my morning routine is to keep my skin moisturized, even on make-up free days. Here are some of my most used products with those extra items that help give me a glow!

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4. Working Hours

Fortunately I have a desk in my room which looks out onto a window, meaning I get a lot of natural daylight helping keep the blues at bay.  This is where you would find me and my typical WFH set up!

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4. Next of course, tea – and lots of it!

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5.  Daily walks; I go for a walk every day for around 30 – 60 minutes either on my lunch break or after work. If I don’t have any company I love to walk around my local village listening to a podcast or video calling my boyfriend.

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6. Post Work

Exercise! I began a workout series in the new year and somehow have stuck to it. The first 4-6 weeks, I exercised 3 times a week. Today marks my 16th week and I’m so happy to say I’ve been managing exercising 5 days a week, on top of the walks. These exercises consists of a mixture of Pilates, HIIT, weights and the occasional run here and there.

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7. One thing that I always vowed to do more of when I was commuting to work, was making the conscious effort to be creative. Now that I have those 2 hours a day back in my life, I am utilizing them. Whether it’s editing videos or writing, I am really enjoying having the creative buzz back in my life! However some days, I use this allotted time to video call either my family, friends or boyfriend (as we don’t live together so are separately self-isolating). Oh and I keep a bottle of water to hand so I don’t forget to hydrate during these hours where time seems to disappear!

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8. Cleanse & Night Time Routine 

Just as we have our morning rituals, I make sure I stick to an evening routine to help me wind down. Removing my make-up properly and changing into pyjamas an hour or two before I go to bed, helps me mentally unwind from the day and prepare for sleep. Plus, it’s important to continue some of those good habits you formed pre-quarantine life!

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9. Herbal Teas – I also like to have a hot drink before bed to enjoy with my number 10…

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10. Watching one of my favourite series! Recently I finished watching This Is Us, which is available on Amazon Prime video. It will have you crying one minute and laughing the next!

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I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Let me know what your working from home/ self-isolation routine looks like in 10 photos and make sure to tag me in it!

If you enjoyed this you should subscribe and check out the below:

20 Things That Made Me Smile In March

Touching the Surface of Amsterdam

Kindness Doesn’t Cost A Thing

Also check me out on YouTube! Make sure you subscribe if you enjoyed the video to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Thanks so much for watching and stay safe!

Travel Vlog | LA Part 1

Travel Vlog | LA Part 2

Travel Vlog | Palm Springs

Travel Vlog | San Diego!

One Month In Lockdown

On 23rd March 2020 I celebrated my 8 year anniversary with my boyfriend. However this day also became a monumental date, as this was the day the UK officially went into lockdown. Prior to this, I had already began to take measures and self isolate. I had been limiting my social contact for 14 days, which was eased by the option to work from home, helping to restrict “unessential” contact.

Now as we hit a month in lockdown I realise this pandemic won’t be blowing over as quickly as I hoped. So I am trying my best to remain positive and creating structure to my new daily routine. But as soon as I take a moment to pause, I feel dread and find myself desperately wondering, just how long will this last? I don’t live with my partner so I’m missing him terribly and feeling this out of control is terrifying. I try to reason with myself to keep perspective and acknowledge that this new normal, won’t be permanent. However, I still experience moments of panic, anxiety, tension headaches and at times catch myself spiraling down the “what if’s”, as I think about how nothing about this “temporary lifestyle” is all that “normal”.

I can’t help but worry about my Grandmother and her declining health and when the next time I am able to see her again will be. About my job, my career and all the plans I absently made and hoped for in 2020. Once I ride this wave of emotion, I then find comfort in sweet gestures from regular calls with my family and friends which really do help; where they too echo my thoughts and feelings, and I know that I am not alone. I try and remind myself of my Grandparents’ own unique challenges in their youth, and the strength and bravery of their generation, which instills me with new hope.

So one month in (but 7 weeks working from home), I’m looking at the little things, the things I am in control of and this is what I’ve learned so far:

  • (Pre-quarantine) I tended to not drink a lot (most of the time) and if I’m honest I probably shouldn’t drink that much at all. Alcohol doesn’t agree with me and I’m enjoying not waking up violently ill on the weekends
  • I thrive off 8 hours sleep and love waking up earlier. I do my best work in the morning
  • I’ve rediscovered my enjoyment for reading which shouldn’t be kept purely as a beach holiday luxury
  • I’m taking things more slowly; a habit that shouldn’t be a rarity. I plan to take a couple of days off work soon during lockdown. It can feel like a “waste” to do so whilst I work remotely but time off does us each the world of good (especially with this lovely weather)
  • I really enjoy being active and am finding more balance in how I use my downtime. Daily walks replace my usual time spent on an extra episode I would typically treat myself to, although I still love Netflix
  • I’m strangely enjoying not styling my hair and letting my hair dry naturally (although I wouldn’t say no to a root or colour freshening up!)
  • Physically distancing is not the same as social distancing. I am very comfortable in my own company but the extrovert in me also really values my social time… which I am also happy to do from the comfort of my own home

Although I am experiencing a lot more mood swings and I’ll be the first to admit that some of my days are better than others, I have a lot more gratitude for the life I live. I still wonder just how this pandemic will shape my future decisions, but one thing I do know is that throughout this testing time, each of us are building a lot of resilience.

Just remember, this won’t last forever. Stay at home for your loved ones, so we can get back out sooner and enjoy our precious world.

If you enjoyed reading this make sure to subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about! Also feel free to check out the below:

20 Things That Made Me Smile In March

Touching the Surface of Amsterdam

Kindness Doesn’t Cost A Thing

Travel Vlog | Palm Springs

Happy Tuesday all my fellow remoters!

I hope you are all keeping and safe well. To brighten up your evening and having a moment of escapism, make sure to check out my latest vlog where you can spend 5 minutes (well 5 minutes 38 seconds to be exact) dreaming of all the travel that is to come.

I hope that you enjoy, if so – make sure to give me a thumbs up & subscribe to never miss what I’m talking about, as well as would help support my channel!

Natalia x

Travel Vlog | LA Part 2

Sharing a major throwback with you all on my YouTube today with Part 2 of my LA Vlog. Looking back it’s clear I learned 3 things here:

1) I can’t pronounce Los Angeles correctly

2) Do not park in Los Angeles

3) I probably couldn’t do live TV, watch it for the bloopers and you will see!

I hope it brings you some 10 mins of escapism and joy today!

Read the blog posts here:

The California Travel Diaries | Los Angeles (Part 1)

California Travel Diairies | Los Angeles (Part 2)

California Travel Diaries | Exploring Orange County

California Travel Diaries | A Whistle-Stop Tour of LA (Again)

Make sure you subscribe and like the video too, which would help support my channel!

Thanks for watching 🙂

Travel Vlog | LA Part 1

Dear lovely readers,

You may like me, have had trips cancelled and plans changed during this lockdown period. But don’t be glum! Come and explore LA with me virtually by watching my latest vlog which is up on my YouTube channel now!

Read the corresponding blog posts below and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel if you enjoyed!

The California Travel Diaries | Los Angeles (Part 1)

California Travel Diairies | Los Angeles (Part 2)