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.

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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!

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How To Make Exercise a Habit | 7 Months of Fitness

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!

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