What’s in My Travel Bag

Hello there! It seems that every time I try to find time to write this blog post I’m half way out the door- but I didn’t want to miss out on this week’s post because of it. To catch you up on why I have been so busy this week, I tried to write on Tuesday when I had a bit of free time after hiking in Yosemite (which is amazing!!!) but found myself unexpectedly having a day of planning after an air b n b host cancelled. Later on this week, I had a day of exploring Monterey, Big Sur and thought I could write some more when I got to San Luis Obispo (SLO for all of you US guys and gals- I know how you guys like to keep it short and sweet), but before I knew it, my bags were packed again for Solvang and now here we are in Santa Barbara. Speaking of Santa Barbara, I only have the time to write as I woke up at stupid o’clock, but there’s a silver lining to everything, as I was given the gift of time to write this week’s post for Natalia Talks About!

With Summer now officially upon us, I know that most of you have been, are or will be going on your holidays or travels very soon. It is really exciting travelling around and seeing new places but it also means you have to be clever with your packing skills; you have to be a Houdini of the travel world. Depending on the type of trip you have planned the below list of items may come in handy when you’re looking to pack your hand luggage.

When I go to an airport I tend to squeeze a few more valuable things into my carry on luggage. I usually pack my hand luggage into the standard small wheely IT suitcases and I carry a small handbag. However I knew that for this trip, one big suitcase and rucksack would suit me much more for 6 weeks around California and New York, with everything else packed away into my suitcase.

1. Rucksack

I initially chose an elegant and fashionable black leather rucksack from Kurt Geiger as I envisioned myself pounding the New York pavements with the chic bag and a bagel and coffee in hand. However I soon realised a sportier rucksack would be far more beneficial on a day to day basis. So instead I bought a black Fiorelli Sports Strike backpack from House of Fraser.

2. Electricals

We all need some entertainment to get us through a long flight, whether it’s to calm your fear of flying, to block out that screaming child, or to just get yourself through a terrible flight like I had to (less than ideal!) So I make sure that I pack my earphones, my tablet with any shows downloaded from Netflix onto it, my camera (digital and Polaroid), my phone and my kindle at the ready with any chargers and adaptors stored with it for ease. I also like to keep all of my valuables on me should something happen to my suitcase (*taps on wood!*)

3. Eye mask

This has become a life saver not only for planes but in the air b n b’s I have stayed in! Definitely make sure you have an eye mask, especially if you are going on a long haul flight.

4. Hair bobble

Every girl’s second best friend to diamonds.

5. Wet wipes

No they are not just for babies, wet wipes are brilliant for day to day use, especially if you accidentally spill your inflight meal on you mid journey (I’m a bit of a klutz).

6. Liquids

In the U.K. they are very hot on having all of your liquids in a small plastic bag under 100ml. As I luckily had a suitcase to pack my shampoo etc., in my hand luggage I packed some hand lotion, a mini mouth wash and toothpaste for freshening up, lip balm, hand anti-bac and some deodorant.

7. Painkillers

Carry these on with you for similar reasons. Nurofen express painkillers are fantastic for resolving a headache quickly.

8. Extra clothes

On most flights I have been on I get cold easily, so I pack a light jumper and jacket to layer up in. I also make sure that my jewellery is in my bag for safe keeping and I tend to wear my holiday hat at the airport (yes I am that person!) but my sunglasses stay in my bag.

9. Snacks and water

Whether you bring something from home or buy a sandwich at the airport, make sure you have food and water with you. I have also only just learned that you can bring a reusable empty water bottle with you through security. You only need to dispose of your water before you go through, then on the other side fill it back up at a water fountain.

10. ID and currency

Passport, boarding pass and any visas are essential. I always pack these first or last to avoid forgetting about them. Make sure that some of your money (in the currency of the country you are travelling to) is in a separate wallet as well as some of it being stored in your main one, should one get stolen/misplaced.

That is pretty much it on my list! What else do you pack in your travel bag? I’m off now to explore more of Santa Barbara. Happy Sunday!

Outfit details

Hat– H&M £8.99

Jacket– Primark £12

Denim skirt– Topshop £40

Backpack– Fiorelli (sold out now in the size I got it but the mini is on sale for £22)

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Life Update: I’m Going Travelling!

Try Before You Buy: Latest Summer Beauty Additions

Easy Hair Updo’s

I’ve always loved trying new hairstyles. One of my favourite toys as a kid was this big dolls head (not creepy I promise!) where you could plait and bead the doll’s hair. In fact if you looked at my saved items on Pinterest you would probably think I’m training to be a budding hairdresser. Instead, I’m just a girly girl when it comes to hair. I will notice your haircut or if you’ve gone a shade or two lighter. I am inspired by hairstyles everywhere I go; down the street, in magazines, you name it. It’s probably why I love the hairdressers so much. The creativity flowing through the salon, the fresh colou and glamorous blowdrys are like my very own Disneyland satisfying all my beauty needs (okay I exaggerate, but I do love the pampering!)

Recently I’ve updated my look by keeping my roots dark with a Balayage style throughout my hair (a cheat tip for maintaining blonde hair). I had it dyed more ashy followed by a toner to get rid of a lot of the warmth in my hair, emphasizing the cool Ash blonde tone. I love cool shades for this time of year, it feels so fresh and on trend. If there is one thing I would like to start doing more of is dedicating more of my time to styling my hair differently during the week. I tend to blow dry my hair straight and on non-wash hair days, I use a bit of dry shampoo and throw my hair up in either a ponytail, or in a bun that takes all of two minutes. However I’ve been looking to shake things up a bit whilst keeping it simple so that I can incorporate it easily into my real life routine. If like me, you want to some inspiration for new and easy hairstyles, carry on reading!

A Bun With a Twist

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There is something so LA about this look. Now that we are moving out of hat weather, make the most of no hat hair with this look!

Chignon Reboot

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A chignon is an elegant knot or twisted look bun which you may see a lot on bridal looks. This can actually be recreated really easily and quickly. Simply tie a low ponytail and feed the hair over itself, twisting it through the pony. I’ve gone for a half ponytail here for some variation. This style would also look really great with curled hair.

Mini French Plaitimg_3435

I love this hairstyle and it’s so versatile across so many age groups! It’s also great for those days at work where you may want your hair off your face but sacrifice on style. This also has a beach babe Summer vibe, that will look great from day to night.

Hair products I’m currently loving:

  • System Silver Shampoo to keep my tones ashy.
  • Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique for heat protection when styling my hair. I like to use this after newly having my hair coloured to prevent it from getting brittle and dry.
  • Olaplex Hair Protector No.3.

Hair products I’m looking for:

  • Texture and volume products. Any recommendations? I was going to try the Ouai Texturising spray but for the price and some reviews stating that it had an odd smell, I decided against it.
  • On that note- Perfumed hairspray!
  • A new blow dry brush (sadly mine is no more after many years use).
  • Hair masque – I love Kérastase’s range of hair masques but I’m hoping to find something cheaper that lasts just as long, and for the same quality… is such magic possible?

Please let me know if you have any products that you recommend. Happy styling everyone!

How To Get Ready Faster (& Smarter!)

It’s 19:30 Saturday night and you’re meant to be meeting meeting your friends at 20:00 but you are still sitting in your towel on your bed, contemplating life. Maybe you’re the kind of person who has to set 5 alarms in the morning to wake up on time, but you consistently end up running late for work. Sound familiar?

I am not a fan of lateness, it’s one of my pet peeves! So if someone makes me late, it really bothers me. This is also probably why I have a freak out when I’m doing my make-up, and suddenly there is eyeliner on my forehead, lipstick smudged so that I look like the joker and I have to start doing my make-up all over again. (Also because then it’s my fault that I’m late.) So to combat this I’ve made a list of how to get help get ready faster!

1. Plan your outfit the night before whether it’s for going to work or a night out. Get all the extra stuff you need too, like your wallet, phone charger, money for the taxi, jewellery, make-up bag etc!

I’m making sure I have this beautiful Nip+Fab Travel Palette in 01 Light/Medium out, so I’m not frantically searching for it before I’m meant to be out of the door!

2. Put your alarm clock on the other side of your room so you have to actually get up to switch it off. This will make you more awake as you have to actively get out of bed.

3. Make and pack a lunch the night before. Also good for saving money!

4. Use an in-shower moisturiser!

5. Don’t start scrolling through Facebook (two minutes will turn into twenty, turning into looking at memes on the internet)

6. Get ready earlier for a night out! Even for you guys don’t leave getting changed to 10 minutes before you have to go. Get ready first then go have pre drinks, or then go socialise with your friends who are over. It’s very easy to lose track of time with your friends and be late. Just get ready at least an hour and a half before you have to go, so you can relax afterwards and maybe have a drink or two and listen to some music!

7. Check your route and make sure that you know where parking is, any delays that could occur (I.e. Public transport or road closures)

8. Maybe you are ready to go then your boyfriend or girlfriend says they have forgotten their phone as you’re half way there. Take the initiative to pack their things and let them know you have it, (obviously).

9. If you’re going out straight from work, cut down the time you need to get ready by having a base ready, e.g. Have your make up done so that you only need to touch up, or add some eyeliner. Have you hair done in the morning so again you only need to give it a refresh. A touch of dry shampoo is great for this to also add volume and life back into your hair!

10. If you have any notoriously late friends, tell them to arrive at yours at least 30 mins to an hour before you’re planning to go. Hopefully they should end up on time!

Let me know if any of these tips made your getting ready routine any smoother or helped you get ready any quicker! Please share any tips you have too; we all could do with a bit less stress in our lives!

How To Be Productive

Twenty-Two days into January and it seems many of us are still going full speed ahead; congratulations if you are one of them! Perhaps you are going through the motions of finishing off those assignments before exam season. Maybe you are finishing off projects and closing work deals, as we move into the final financial quarter. Or like me, you may even be playing catch up after a bout of sickness and trying to utilize most of the working day, even if that means working overtime (not that fun). Nevertheless, today I felt like I completed a week’s worth of work in one day and it flew past, but we know this is not always the case. Some days I find myself spending hours of mindless scrolling on Facebook, and find myself googling completely irrelevant facts, like where the Obama’s went on holiday last Summer (it’s Bali by the way).

However today I am pleased to say, that I have managed to stay away from that procrastination train and I am going to share with you my best tips on how to be productive, all in an efficient and structured list (of course!)

1. Make a to-do list of all the errands you have to do in your personal life. Physically writing this down will help you to organize your two worlds and focus better on your work. I.E., the areas you most likely have avoided prioritizing.

2. Next make a list of what you actually have to do at work over the next two weeks. I always try to cram everything in a day or two, only realizing that my optimistic planning was quite unrealistic. Once you have written out your list, leave some time spare in preparation for any urgent tasks that come in, which will have to be completed ASAP.

3. From both of your lists begin to prioritize them in order of importance, number 1 being the most urgent. Tick these tasks off as you go, which you will find is very satisfying. If you have tasks you consider to be of equal importance, I always try to do the one that will take less time first.

4. Have a drink always to had. Fill up a big bottle of water and have a hot drink next to you too. This will stop you getting distracted and wandering into the kitchen for snacks or around the office for a chat, when really you should be getting on!

5. Combat the problem of noise. Can’t work when it’s too loud? Plug in your earphones (I like to have just one in my ear, so I am not coming across as too rude). This will help fade out all the distraction around you and get stuck into a task.

6. On the flip side, perhaps you can’t work when it’s too quiet? Put the radio on, or listen to a podcast as you work, whatever it is you need. Just remember that not everyone copes well with noise, especially during that busy January period!

7. Do you have a task that will take about five to ten minutes? If so, do it first. Read your emails, send that letter, whatever the task is, I find that completing small pieces of work first, helps motivate me to be productive and warms me up to tackle the bigger stuff next.

8. Take a decent lunch break. You will not be productive if you work yourself too hard. Make sure you get fresh air and stretch your legs during your lunch break or at least every hour and a half of sitting down. I have only recently started doing this, despite being told this repeatedly during my studies. Fresh air and some exercise really does help clear your head. I try to step away from desk and go for a walk at lunch time every day if possible, and take frequent breaks to stretch my legs, even if it is just to get another drink etc.

9. Give yourself a set time when you’re going to start or complete the task. Whether it’s a work project, beginning revision for exams or cleaning the bathroom. Say to yourself today at 6:30 pm I am going to the gym, or on Saturday morning as soon as I have eaten breakfast at 10:00am, I’m going to hoover my car. By setting a time to complete a task you assign importance to it, rather than shrugging it off to complete, “at some point”. This also avoids unnecessary stress down the line.

10. Track your progress and think of any reward and positive outcomes. Maybe after a long day of revising or working overtime, treat yourself with that episode of Game Of Thrones you have been saving. To be productive and fight procrastination, remind yourself of the benefits and how much lighter you will feel when you stop putting off that  specific task, (for me it is data entry!).

I personally applied this principle particularly during revision periods. When I was at Uni I used to say to myself, “If I wake up early and start revision by 10am and finish by 6pm, I can take the whole evening off for myself”. This really helped motivate me and allowed me to factor in some social time. I found that most of my friends who were unproductive with their time, did not do this. They would sleep in late, and have “evening revision sessions at the library”, which meant going to the library at 5pm, getting hungry by 6, stopping for dinner at 7, back to the library for 9/10 pm, and not really achieve anything. Revision is boring enough, but I’d recommend you treat it like a plaster- pull it off at once and deal with the pain sooner than later.

So there you have it, my top tips for being productive and how I stay motivated. These tips have helped me start and achieve my tasks and goals, both at work and at home. What tips work for you? Let me know!

How To Plait Hair: 3 Different Styles

Plaiting a girl’s hair is not only a dad’s worst nightmare but a skill that women everywhere work hard to achieve. Depending on your hair type and length it can get even more complicated. Trying to do your own hair without eyes at the back of your head makes plaiting even more challenging. The only thing you can do is practice, practice, practice!

I love a hair plait as it can be so chic, versatile and it has really come back into fashion, especially the last couple of years. With us hopefuls already looking forward to the Summer months, this is also a really popular hairstyle to learn in time for festivals, beach days or just a casual trip into the city. Below I’m going to try to keep it simple and will show you 3easy and different ways that you can plait your hair.

No.1) The Classic Plait

This is the premise of all plaits and an easy one to learn. If you already know how to do this doing the next two hairstyles will be a lot easier. If not then no need to worry; I’ve got you covered.

Starting at the base of your neck split your hair into three parts. Take the left strand and cross it over the middle strand and pull taut to the left. You now have a new middle strand. Next pull the new middle strand under the right strand, pulling taut to the right. Then repeat these two steps all the way down the hair. You are simply taking the the middle strand and pulling it under the left strand, then middle under the right. It’s that simple! Finish by tying with a hair elastic or a hairband.

No.2) The French Plait

This one gets a bit more complicated but only slightly contrary to what people believe. The tricky part is holding your hands on your own head, as they get tired and knowing where to place your fingers as you pull over the strands. If you are a beginner you can make it easier by placing a mirror both in front and behind you, so that you can see the back of your head. Alternatively practice on someone else first to get the method correct. Essentially the French Plait is the same as a classic one, just beginning higher up on your head.

Starting at the top of your hair line, take a thin portion of the middle section of your hair and split it into three strands. Take the left strand and pull it over the middle (holding it taut as you pull out the middle strand), this now becomes the left strand.

Then take the new middle strand pulling it under the right. Again as you pull out the right strand hold it taut, as it becomes the new middle strand.

To create the French Plait, you now need to add another layer of hair from below the strand, adding more as you plait your whole hair. To do this pick up some hair directly below the left strand and add it to the left bundle of hair you are currently holding. Next cross over this now thicker left strand to the middle. As you pull the original middle strand to the left, also take a layer of hair from underneath it and add it to the bundle of hair in that section. Remember to hold the hair taut.

Then add some more hair below the right strand to the section, as you cross this over to become your middle. As you pull the middle strand out, again add hair from underneath to the bundle. As you hold this out taut, it will now become your right strand. Repeat these instructions all the way down your hair until you plait as much as possible.

Remember that this is the same method as a normal plait, as the left and right strands cross over the middle. You are simply adding more hair to each bundle as you plait.

No.3) The Dutch Braid

This is very popular and again easy when you know how. The only difference between this and a French Plait is that the plait appears to be ‘over‘ rather than ‘under’ the hair. This is exactly the difference and the key to creating this look.

Begin again by splitting your hair at the crown of your head, close to your hairline, into three strands. This time, rather than the left strand going over the middle, you tuck it underneath the middle strand instead. Pulling taut again as you cross. Then take the right section and pull it under the middle keeping it tight. When doing a Dutch Braid I like to repeat these steps once again, before adding hair from below as it makes it easier to secure the plait.

Now as you continue to plait and add the below lengths of your hair to each section, just make sure that the left and right strands are always pulled under the middle strand. In other worlds, to get the look that the plait is raised off your head, the middle strand will always be placed over the left and right pieces. Once finished plaiting to the end of your hair, secure with a hair tie.

It takes a while to get the hair plaited tight enough to not fall out and your arms may get tired as you try to get the logistics of doing this. To get a thicker or thinner plait, you simply need to add a thinner section to the bundle, or a thicker section of hair to the bundle. With plaits, practice makes perfect and bobby pins are great to secure any loose fly away hair. You can also add some hairspray for the hair to stay neat and secure all day. Before you know it, you will be able to recreate plaits just as impressive as Daenerys’ Targaryen!