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

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5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

Do you have a couple of hours spare this week? Of course you do! I see you getting ready to catch up on the latest episodes of The Undoing (good choice too may I add). I am also a huge movie and TV fan (check out my list of 10 shows to binge in lockdown if you missed it) but I find that when I fall into the routine of simply, “work-eat-watch-sleep-repeat”, it can actually make me feel demotivated, rather than relaxed. So today I wanted to share with you five other easy ways that you can look after yourself this week, and get some wellness back into your life.

  1. Block Out Your Week
    If like me you are still working from home, I challenge you to spend 5 minutes this week planning your diary. Monday’s and Tuesday’s are my busiest days of the week and if I am not careful, I could easily work all day without a break. Therefore I have been making an effort to schedule time in my day specifically for a lunch break, and for a workout. This helps keep me accountable, as well as prioritize the things I need to function best and work efficiently. By scheduling this time into your diary, you will also hopefully prevent any sneaky meetings from going in! As well as this, by planning out your days with specific focus blocks for work, you will begin to distinguish between which tasks are “urgent”, and which are important. In turn, hopefully this will help you manage your time better and feel a bit more productive.

  2. Autumn Clean
    It’s not rocket science to recognize that there is a correlation between the state of your working environment and your mood. Whilst “Autumn Clean” may not have the same ring to it as “Spring Clean” does, I challenge you to find 20 minutes in your week to spruce up one area of your choice. My goal this week? My beauty products drawer – it is in dire need of some TLC since it’s last tidy back in March… eek! Whether it is your desk drawers, or the chair with the mysterious growing pile of clothes on it, choose a small area to tackle first and see how it instantly makes you feel lighter!

  3. Rise and Shine
    One thing that I have been trying to get better at prioritizing, is my morning routine. Since working from home, my snooze button has become a lot more frequent. I also find myself checking my phone first thing in the dark, then proceed to roll out of bed 3 minutes before I have to log on for work. Last week I decided to try and wake up 15 minutes earlier than I usually would. Whilst I must admit there may still have been a snooze or two, having an extra few minutes to myself in the morning before I went straight into work mode, helped me feel a bit more prepared for the day ahead. Try it and let me know if you feel the same!

  4. Go Outside
    At times, it can feel near impossible to tear yourself away from your desk. However, if you are going to do just one thing from this list, I would recommend this be it it. During the work week, try to commit yourself to at least one 20 minute walk a day. I always notice a dramatic difference in my mood after I have had some fresh air; something which has been lacking now that I don’t have a commute. If there are no furry friends or companions to keep you company, do what I do and listen to a podcast as an incentive to get you away from your desk. Remember, daylight will not hang around for you in these colder months and you can always continue to work an extra 20 minutes in the evening if you absolutely need to.

  5. Mix It Up
    This one requires a bit of thinking from you. What is one fun thing you only give time to when you go on holiday or when it’s the weekend? Is it playing your guitar? Crocheting? For me, it is reading. I am a repeat offender of starting a new book on holiday to then only forget about it as soon as I step off the plane. This week, choose one fun thing you like to do and spend an hour doing it.

I hope this list gave you some inspiration for simple but effective ways to put yourself first this week. What other things would you recommend doing? Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoyed 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:

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Dublin | Travel Vlog!

 

Hey there lovely readers!

About a week ago I returned from Englad’s lovely neighbours’ across the pond – Ireland! Although a blog is yet to follow for the full detail, check out my YouTube video in the meantime to see what I got up to in Dublin and remember to like, comment & subscribe.

I hope you enjoy!

Natalia x

Summer Recap 2019 | Love Island, Vlogging & Goodbye’s

With chillier mornings and shorter days now upon us, waking up to the sound of birds at 5am seems a distant memory. Welcome back to those of you who have followed me for a while and hello to any new readers! I am so glad you’ve stumbled upon my blog. I hope you all have had a lovely last few months (eek has it really been that long), with many a Prosecco or Pimm’s sipped throughout the British heatwave. What a Summer we have had, eh!

I thought I would take this first post back on the blog, to catch you up on what I got up to throughout my Summer 2019 as I’ve been pretty absent in the bloggersphere. I also thought this would be a great opportunity to recap and get back on track as my last few posts have been quite reflective or travel orientated, and with Autumn being the season of change, it seemed apt to sign off the Summer season before we head into knitwear weather!

Usually when I have a break from writing it’s a sign of me taking time to recuperate or focusing my time and energy on one area of my life at a time. However, the last 4 months since blogging I’ve quite honestly just been busy. Busy due to some (self-inflicted) distractions, busy with holidaying (bank holidaying and abroad), busy with my job (longer hours), and just generally being out of my routine as I tried to make the most of being in the now, enjoying every moment that I could with family and friends. All in all, this made up for a very busy, but very memorable Summer- one that I’d love to capture on this blog.

Let’s start at the beginning. Love Island. Having missed most of the series last year and now currently working in a very young office, I knew that I would be involved in the conversations about it at work one way or another. I had a feeling that there would be no escaping, whether it was memes flooding my social media or daily conversations over my morning cuppa as I checked my emails at work. I was right! So I committed myself to watching it for one hour a day, five days a week and quite honestly, that was my June and July in a nutshell. But wait, let me justify why absorbing my time into Love Island was so satisfying. My current workplace is very fast-paced and the Summer months saw my team understaffed, meaning more pressure to hit the same deadlines and meet expectations, but with the added challenge of Summer hours. Although early Friday finishes are a great perk and motivation, (something that I would love to instill all year round should I ever run a business), this meant that a lot of my energy was concentrated on my “9 – 5” self. By the time I came home after a tiring day at work, all I really wanted to do was eat, watch Love Island and find out which couple would survive Caroline Flack’s twists and turns, and get a good night sleep. By the end of June, one month into Love Island, I treated myself to a much needed break to Cyprus with my boyfriend!

Throughout my nine days on holiday in the Cypriot heat, I soaked in the familiar and comforting beaches I now know so well. After a few days of R&R, I ventured into my next project that I had been procrastinating for months. The world of vlogging and editing. At last, I finally began focusing on editing footage that I captured from the California Travel Diaries in action along with a few trips I had taken around Europe in the late Spring! However, as soon as I returned back home, I quickly learned that balancing working full time with blogging, editing videos and sleeping enough is a challenge and a half… and I haven’t even published anything yet! So in July, I decided I could no longer let Love Island rule my life, and wanted to get back into the swing of things and invest time in my new hobby. So I turned to my favourite online creators, and eagerly tried to discover their secret to my question, Can Millennials Have It All  and how do they seemingly do it all? Their answer – not so glamorous. In short, achieving anything worthwhile involves: being consistent, showing up, putting the effort in, making sacrifices and lastly, holding yourself accountable. Whatever your dream, side hustle or passion that you may desire to make your full time job, unfortunately it won’t be a reality if you wait for the day until “you have time” to come. You have to make the time. Something I allowed Love Island among other things to take away from me!

Soon enough, August snuck up on me. With further British heatwaves, bank holidays, Summer book reading lists, an even busier work schedule compensated by lots of Summer work socials, I found myself quite literally “living for the weekend”- a mentality I once swore never to have.

August was also filled with a theme of goodbye’s. Any spare evenings I had coming back from work were spent with family, as one of my brothers was preparing to make the move to the States ahead of his upcoming wedding. I chose to make memories with my family and be well rested rather than tucked away in my room writing and editing – a decision I am very happy about. I captured some home videos with family, my future sister-in-law’s hen do, my brother’s and his fiancé’s leaving party and a family outing to to Wales. Although I may not be sharing them across my social media, I am so glad I have those short videos to look back on. At the end of the month, I was also spoiled with a fantastic reunion with two of my best friends who have been living abroad over the last two years! I may not haven been as present online as I would have liked to have been, however offline my heart has been full and those around me hopefully know just how much I have valued their time, friendship and the memories we have made.

September has continued with the theme of change as I gradually have said goodbye to my “#summervibes” hashtag; enjoying final picnics of the season, a late Summer Festival at Gunnersville, days spent at theme parks screaming and laughing on roller-coasters at the top of my lungs; September has so far been a great month. Autumn has also brought with it an unexpected job opportunity for me. As a creature of habit by nature, I am quite nervous to embark upon a new adventure. Nonetheless this is a great incentive to get myself back into a routine and present myself with an exciting challenge. So as we move into this new season, expect (long overdue) fun travel blog posts and vlogs to come! I can’t wait to share more with you all and I hope you’ll join me for the ride!

Natalia x

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