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

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!

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

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!

Check out the below posts too:

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

Summer Body Skincare

Short Story

5 Smoothie Recipes To Try Now

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

Sarah’s Day Fitness E-Books | Review

Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube to keep up to date with what I’m talking about and check out my Instagram!

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:

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

Summer Body Skincare

Short Story

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

Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube to keep up to date with what I’m talking about and check out my Instagram!